Shri Gadkari Stresses on the Need to Develop Consensus Amongst Concerned States on Interlinking of Rivers

Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Shipping, Road Transport & Highways Shri Nitin Gadkari today stressed on the need to develop consensus amongst the concerned states on interlinking of rivers so that the water draining unutilized into the sea could be utilized for the needy areas. He called upon states to discuss and sort out issues through active consultation so that the projects can be implemented on priority.

During the meeting, it was stressed on the need for developing consensus amongst the concerned states on interlinking of rivers so that the water draining unutilized into the sea could be utilized for the needy areas.

States were called upon to discuss and sort out issues through active consultation so that the projects can be implemented on priority.

Steps have been taken for early implementation of five interlinking projects and Memorandum of Agreement for implementation of these projects is being finalized in consultation with the concerned state governments.

These five projects include the Ken-Betwa link project, Damanganga-Pinjal link project, Par-Tapi-Narmada link project, Godavari-Cauvery (Grand Anicut) link project and Parvati-Kali Sindhu-Chambal link.

The interlinking project aims to link India’s rivers by a network of reservoirs and canals that will allow for their water capacities to be shared and redistributed. According to some experts, this is an engineered panacea that will reduce persistent floods in some parts and water shortages in other parts besides facilitating the generation of hydroelectricity for an increasingly power hungry country.

Enhances water and food security of the country and it is essential for providing water to drought-prone and water deficit areas.

River interlinking projects envisage that the surplus water available in Himalayan Rivers is transferred to the areas where water supply is not adequate in Peninsular India. Also, huge quantities of water from several Peninsular rivers drain unutilized into the sea, and river interlinking projects help transfer this water to water deficit areas of Peninsular India.

The main occupation of rural India is agriculture and if monsoon fails in a year, then agricultural activities come to a standstill and this will aggravate rural poverty. Interlinking of rivers will be a practical solution for this problem because the water can be stored or water can be transferred from water surplus area to deficit.

The Ganga Basin, Brahmaputra basin sees floods almost every year. In order to avoid this, the water from these areas has to be diverted to other areas where there is the scarcity of water. This can be achieved by linking the rivers. There is a two-way advantage with this – floods will be controlled and scarcity of water will be reduced.

Interlinking of rivers will also have commercial importance on a longer run. This can be used as inland waterways and which helps in the faster movement of goods from one place to other.

Interlinking also creates a new occupation for people living in and around these canals and it can be the main areas of fishing in India.

Interlinking of rivers will cause a huge amount of distortion in the existing environment. In order to create canals and reservoirs, there will be mass deforestation. This will have an impact on rains and in turn affect the whole cycle of life.

Usually, rivers change their course and direction in about 100 years and if this happens after interlinking, then the project will not be feasible for a longer run.

Due to the interlinking of rivers, there will be a decrease in the amount of fresh water entering seas and this will cause a serious threat to the marine life system and will be a major ecological disaster.

Due to the creation of Canals and Reservoirs, the huge amount of area which is occupied by the people will be submerged leading to the displacement of people and government will have to spend more to rehabilitate these people.

The amount required for these projects is so huge that the government will have to take loans from the foreign sources which would increase the burden on the government and country will fall into a debt trap.

National Water Development Agency (NWDA) so far has received more than 40 proposals of intra-state links from 9 States viz. Maharashtra, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Odisha, Bihar, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Chhattisgarh. The successful completion of these projects will lead to a reduction in disaster during floods, improved irrigation facilities, employment generation in rural agriculture, and an increase in exports and decrease in migration from villages.

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