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Save Water, Save Nature

Gangajal Nature Foundation spreads awareness about water pollution, through the medium of ‘Gangajal photo exhibition’, reports Alekh Angre

In India, the river Ganga signifies faith and religion; it is a symbol of our civilization. But, over the years, it has been reduced to a polluted drain, thanks to industrialisation and human greed.

Noticing the contradictory human behaviour towards a river that people revere as ‘Ganga maiyya’ (mother Ganga), a Mumbai-based freelance photographer, Vijay Mudshingikar decided to traverse the entire course of the river capturing images of the devastated Ganges. He exhibited his photographs and the experience eventually led him to set up the Gangajal Nature Foundation in 2007.

The Foundation aims to protect India’s water resources from all kinds of pollution. It has collated extensive data on the polluted Ganga and creates awareness about dying water resources through photographs and documentaries. These efforts forced the Uttarakhand government to ban tourists/pilgrims at Gomukh, including the Kavad Yatra.

“I first read about the Ganga getting polluted while I was bedridden with slipped disc. I decided that after I recover, I must capture its condition through photographs,” says Mr Mudshingikar. He was then working as a junior technician at Crompton Greaves. In 2001, armed with his camera, he started from the point where the Ganga meets the Bay of Bengal and retraced its path to its origin at Gomukh. The photographs, covering a five-year journey, include the immersion of the Durga idol in West Bengal, dev deepawali in Benaras, dead bodies thrown in the river and other forms of pollution startling enough to shock anyone. “The gangajal is pristine blue at Gomukh; but at Kanpur, it was nothing but poison,” he says.

Mr Mudshingikar’s photographs portray the truth more powerfully than words and instantly touch one’s heart. These photographs are meant to create awareness about the state of India’s water resources, be it rivers, lakes or ponds. To dedicate time and attention to this work, Mr Mudshingikar took voluntary retirement from his job in 2006 and used the golden handshake funds to hold his first exhibition in Delhi. Although the exhibition drew a large number of viewers, not a single photograph got sold. Slowly word spread and funds from the founders and members of his organisation helped him in his mission to create awareness. “The coming generation will see worse pollution, so we always try to create awareness amongst school kids,” he explains.

Gangajal Foundation organised a ‘Jan Jodo Ganga Yatra’ in 2010 connecting people across the river’s 2,525km course. In the process, they collected useful data like levels of pollution, ill-effects on people’s lives, video records of the untreated effluent and sewage discharge. It is the local authorities from Kanpur who took action and blocked some nullahs that were draining into the river.

“Local people played a major role in making the authorities take this action. We believe we have reconnected the souls of at least one crore people with the river Ganga,” says Mr Mudshingikar.

The Foundation did similar work on the Panchaganga River in Maharashtra on a small scale. While enthusiasm for the mission is high, paucity of funds is the biggest challenge for Gangajal Foundation. Among its plans is a survey of dying rivers in Maharashtra with special focus on the Mithi River, blockage of which caused killer floods in Mumbai in 2005. In March 2012, the Foundation will undertake a data collection cruise on the river by boat. It also hopes to start a regular Ganga tour, to educate people on water pollution. “People think Ganga darshan is only for old people. We want everyone to see its condition and realise that we don’t hesitate to pollute it even as we call it holy water.”

One can volunteer for documenting the activities and collating research material for the Foundation. You can also donate financially. All donations are eligible for tax exemption under Section 80 (G) of the Income-Tax Act. 

Gangajal Nature Foundation

96/2715, Shree Cooperative Housing Society
Kannamwar Nagar-2
Vikhroli (East)
Mumbai 400 083
Tel: +91 (022) 2577 5070
[email protected]


Oil ministry refuses approval to RIL’s $1.52 billion investment

The oil ministry and the DGH blocked the investment saying RIL and its partners, BP Plc of the UK and Niko Resources of Canada, need to rework financials as the original proposal was submitted in 2009

New Delhi: The oil ministry and its technical arm Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) on Friday refused approval to Reliance Industries’ (RIL) $1.529 billion investment plan to develop satellite fields to offset fall in gas output at its flagging KG-D6 block, reports PTI.

At the KG-D6 block’s oversight committee meeting here, the ministry and the DGH blocked the investment saying RIL and its partners, BP Plc of the UK and Niko Resources of Canada, need to rework financials as the original proposal was submitted in 2009, sources privy to the deliberations said.

The investment plan has been pending for approval with the DGH and the oil ministry for almost two years and when it came up for approval at the Management Committee (MC) meeting yesterday, the ministry and the DGH said investment plan needs to be reworked keeping changed prices of energy and services.

RIL request for approval of $30 million spending to do engineering studies so that a new field development plan can be submitted was also rejected by the MC, they said.

BP, which had earlier this year bought 30% stake in KG-D6 and 22 other blocks of RIL for $7.2 billion in India’s largest ever foreign direct investment, has been banking on ‘Next Wave’ strategy of developing satellite fields to reverse the fall in output at KG-D6 field which has dipped to 41 million metric standard cubic meters per day (mmscmd) from 61.5 mmscmd achieved in March last year.

DGH director general SK Srivastava, who had on Thursday confirmed his availability for the MC meeting, did not attend the meeting and instead sent his junior. DN Narasimha Raju, joint secretary (exploration), ministry of petroleum and natural gas, too skipped the meeting and sent his juniors for the meet.

Without engineering studies, an accurate financial estimate is not possible, sources said.

RIL had in 2009 submitted a field development plan (FPD) for four satellite fields surrounding the currently producing Dhirubhai-1 and 3 (D1 and D3) fields in KG-D6 block. It proposed to invest $1.529 billion for producing up to 10 mmscmd of gas from the Dhirubhai-2, 6, 19 and 22 (D-2, D-6, D-19 and D-22) fields in the KG-D6 block by 2016.

The company has so far made 18 gas discoveries in the KG-D6 block. Of these, D-1 and D-3 the largest among the lot were brought into production from April 2009.

It had in July 2008, submitted a FDP for nine satellite gas discoveries (D-2, D-4, D-6, D-7, D-8, D-16, D-19, D-22 and D-23) with an estimated capex of $5.6 billion and reserves of 1,708 billion cubic feet (bcf).

RIL later submitted an optimised development plan for the four satellite gas fields in end-2009. It estimated 1,733 bcf of in-place gas reserves in the four finds, of which 626 bcf can be produced. However, the DGH trimmed down the estimates to 1,342 bcf and 617 bcf, respectively.

Fall in pressure, water ingress and thinner-than-expected reservoirs resulted in a drop in production at D1&D3 to 34.11 mmscmd from 54 mmscmd achieved in March last year. Together with around 7 mmscmd, the output from KG-D6 currently is 41.06 mmscmd.

BP’s India CFO Kris Sliger has earlier written to the oil ministry saying that Europe’s second-largest oil firm is preparing to explore newer areas of D6 as part of a ‘Next Wave’ strategy.

Production from KG-D6 had touched 61.5 mmscmd in March last year and was projected to rise to 69.2 mmscmd by this time, but has instead slumped.

BP had asked the oil ministry for approval to begin pre- development activities at both the R-Series and satellite fields that surround the currently producing Dhirubhai-1 and 3 fields.

RIL’s proposal for investment of $2.34 billion in developing R-Series fields in KG-D6 block is also pending approval.

Tests by RIL have shown that gas-bearing layers of sand in the Dhirubhai-1 and 3 fields of KG-D6 block are thinner than initially estimated and extraction may require costlier drilling techniques. Satellite fields in the KG-D6 block and discoveries, also known as the ‘R-Series’, together are estimated to have the potential to produce 35 mmscmd.

BP wanted the government to quickly approve plans for additional satellite and R series reservoirs so as to begin the process of engineering and hike production of gas from KG-D6 by 2014.


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