Another Milestone Achieved

As said in Hindi

“देर आए दुरूस्त आए  (came late but came for good)”

Now seems to be holding true as ever since the new NDA govt came to power under the leadership of Hon. Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi (BJP) a lot of projects which were on hold for decades, by the parties still under colonial mindset, are not only being cleared but also being implemented.

The Indian Rivers Inter-link is a proposed large-scale project that aims to link India’s rivers by a network of reservoirs and canals and to reduce persistent floods in some parts and water shortages in other parts of India.

The project is being managed by India’s National Water Development Agency (NWDA), under its Ministry of Water Resources. NWDA has studied and prepared reports on 14 inter-link projects for Himalayan component, 16 inter-link projects for Peninsular component and 37 intrastate river linking projects.

History

In the 1970s, K.L. Rao, a former irrigation minister proposed “National Water Grid”. He was concerned about the severe shortages of water in the South and repetitive flooding in the North every year. He suggested that the Brahmaputra and Ganga basins are water surplus areas, and central and south India as water deficit areas. He proposed that surplus water be diverted to areas of deficit. When Rao made the proposal, several inter-basin transfer projects had already been successfully implemented in India, and Rao suggested that the success be scaled up.

In 1980, India’s Ministry of Water Resources came out with a report entitled “National Perspectives for Water Resources Development”. This report split the water development project in two parts – the Himalayan and Peninsular components. Congress Party came to power and it abandoned the plan. In 1982, India financed and set up a committee of nominated experts, through National Water Development Agency (NWDA) to complete detailed studies, surveys and investigations in respect of reservoirs, canals and all aspects of feasibility of inter-linking Peninsular rivers and related water resource management. NWDA has produced many reports over 30 years, from 1982 through 2013. However, the projects were not pursued.

The river inter-linking idea was revived in 1999, after a new political alliance formed the central government, but this time with a major strategic shift. The proposal was modified to intra-basin development as opposed to inter-basin water transfer.

By 2004, a different political alliance led by Congress Party was in power, and it resurrected its opposition to the project concept and plans. Social activists campaigned that the project may be disastrous in terms of cost, potential environmental and ecological damage, water table and unseen dangers inherent with tinkering with nature. The central government of India, from 2005 through 2013, instituted a number of committees, rejected a number of reports, and financed a series of feasibility and impact studies, each with changing environmental law and standards.

In February 2012, while disposing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) lodged in the year 2002, Supreme Court (SC) refused to give any direction for implementation of Rivers Interlinking Project. SC stated that it involves policy decisions which are part of legislative competence of state and central governments. However, SC directed the Ministry of Water Resources to constitute an experts committee to pursue the matter with the governments as no party had pleaded against the implementation of Rivers Interlinking Project.

For decades India has been plannimg to link the rivers across India, so that the waters can be used to the best as some of the rivers overflow during monsoon after floods and a lot of water get wasted.

Present

India on Wednesday September 16, 2015, took a step forward in its ambitious but long-pending goal to interlink major rivers to form a national water grid.

The Pattiseema project lifts flood water from the river Godavari and pumps it into the Polavaram right canal that empties into the river Krishna in Vijayawada.

 The interlinking of the Godavari and the Krishna has been on the anvil for almost five decades and with the commissioning of the Pattiseema scheme, four major rivers in Andhra Pradesh are now connected to one another: Godavari-Krishna, Krishna-Pennar and Pennar-Tungabhadra.

Thousands of farmers in Krishna, Guntur, Prakasam, Kurnool, Kadapa, Anantapur and Chittoor districts will benefit from the Godavari-Krishna linkage. About 17 lakh acres including 13 lakhs in the Krishna delta will get assured irrigation water for two agricultural crops round the year. Thousands of villages en route will get drinking water supplies.

The Pattiseema (Polavaram) is one of the major projects envisaged under the national river linking project that aims to connect as many as 30 rivers including the Himalayan and the peninsular.

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