Grand distraction called river-linking
The idea of interlinking rivers is appealing because it is so grand. But this is also the reason it is nothing more than a distraction
from the business at hand.
PERSUADING THE PRESIDENT
President Kalam, please listen
Six leading advocates of decentralisation and people centred
planning met the President to impress upon him
that the Interlinking of Rivers project is a step in the wrong direction.
RAJYA SABHA INTERVENTION
'Not the litmus test for patriotism'
The entire weight of technical opinion has been to proceed with caution on the Interlinking of Rivers.
An extract of Jairam Ramesh's speech in the Rajya Sabha debate on the working of Ministry of Water Resources on 20 April 2005.
A breach in the interlinking plans
Forced by the Supreme Court to make its research public, the agency that claimed to have
conducted feasibility studies on interlinking rivers puts out an incomplete document.
notes, however, that the politics of this mega-project will keep it alive, despite such incompetence and
disregard for regulations.
Cart before the horse
With little agreement among the States both on the desirability and feasibility on the proposed river links, separate negotiations for each link reeks of unrealistic ambition. But ultimately, the paradox
of this project is that its proponents are taking a bottom up approach to the execution of a
top down decision, says Videh Upadhyay.
Water beneath rivers and streams flows so fast that only a portion of it is
tapped by wells. Subsurface dams would obstruct this, and allow more to be
extracted. Additionally, they can force flows to the surface, making
substantially more water available downstream without major ecological and
human costs, says
The doubtful science of interlinking
Why exactly do we need to link our rivers? Are we short of arable land, or are crop yields too low?
Are we short of rainfall, or do we manage the available water poorly? Can arithmetic hydrology
adequately substitute ecology?
Jayanta Bandyopadhyay and Shama Perveen
of IIM Kolkata present a sweeping analysis.
Interlinking the Chief Ministers
How can a state that only a few weeks ago expressed concerns over
river diversions, so quickly change its assessment?
notes the reversal of positions on the interlinking mega-project is tied to
political changes rather than environmental or social assessments.
Linking lives, not rivers
water management schemes in Gujarat show that
empowered local communities can tackle water
problems, and have little need for New Delhi's grand
More importantly, the spin-off social and economic
benefits, deliberately woven into these local efforts, are
Interlinking? No, thanks
The Kerala Assembly has decided that the state has nothing
to gain - and plenty of already scarce water to lose -
from the massive plan.
The Assembly resolution has come at the right time in
reviving a long-lost ecological consciousness.
River links and judicial chinks
Why did the Supreme Court take up interlinking rivers?
When only one state filed its view in court, why did the
court presume a 'consensus'? With two options at every
turn, the Court has consistently picked the unconvincing
one, and this has hindered the necessary discussions, says
The river linkages payoff
Against all the evidence, a conspiracy appears to have
been hatched at the top echelons of the government to
somehow bring this massive river linking project on the
national agenda. The lure of gigantism today is the
prospect of large and easy kickbacks, says
Interlinking : Epitaph for the displaced
Mr. Suresh Prabhu, when asked for estimates on the numbers of people to be displaced and about the cost of rehabilitation: "This is to be worked out but the benefits outweigh the costs." If it is yet to be assessed, how can anyone be sure that the benefits outweigh the costs, asks S G Vombatkere.
The need for public debate
Proponents of interlinking rivers must consider that an
explicit definition of "public interest" or "public good" needs be used to
identify the primary stakeholders and their stake in such a massive
Arguments and Alternatives
There may be an overall shortage of water, but the gravity of the problem
is primarily due to improper distribution, vast differential in
consumption and wastages. S G Vombatkere presents alternatives to and
arguments against interlinking.
Salvation or folly?
Mass transfer of water across river basins is a gigantic project entailing
construction of dams and canals and other connected hydraulic engineering
works. Several questions need to be asked and answered first.
Anyone who knows what river systems and river-basin
projects are will know that whatever water the
plan to connect the nation's rivers holds is but a