Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Union Cabinet all set to decide on scripting final doomsday for Indian Rivers today!

Dear Friends/Co-sailors,

The union cabinet is all set to OK inter-linking of Ken-Betwa rivers today.  If this happens, then we can say that the beginning of the final doomsday for Indian Rivers has begun.

Let's strongly oppose this as River-Linking is not only socio-economically and politically disastrous but also ecologically devastating.

Please see the link to the news below and do the needful.

Thanks and regards,


Cabinet set to OK inter-linking of Ken-Betwa rivers today
SC had in Feb 2012 directed the Centre to effect river inter-linking project.

NEW DELHI: After almost a decade of political objections and green opposition, the cabinet on Thursday is likely to clear the ambitious inter-linking of rivers project, beginning with the process of connecting the Ken-Betwa rivers in Madhya Pradesh.

The Ken-Betwa river link is one of the 30 inter-linking projects to be green lighted by the Supreme Court following a tripartite memorandum of understanding signed between the water resources ministry and chief ministers of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

The apex court had in February, 2012 directed the Centre to implement the inter-linking of rivers (ILR) project in a time-bound manner and appointed a high-powered committee for its planning and implementation.

The proposal has been given a fresh thrust by water resources minister Harish Rawat and the government claims that on completion of all 30 projects, water will be available for irrigating 35 million hectares, generate hydro electricity to the tune of 34,000 MW and control floods in many states.

Though initially mooted in 1982, the proposal was actively taken by the NDA government but fell off the radar once UPA came to office. A section of environmentalists opposed the project on the grounds that it is unviable and the proposal also came to be seen as a NDA hobby horse.

Rawat, who has been keen on implementing the project at the earliest ever since the Supreme Court had given its nod to it in 2012, will bring the proposal before the Cabinet on Thursday.

"Since all the related matters including environmental issues have already been resolved for the Ken-Betwa and couple of more projects, the government's apex decision making body may not find it difficult to give its go ahead on Thursday," said an official who is privy to the details of the projects.

He said, "The move will see beginning of actual works on the ground for linking Ken and Betwa rivers in early 2014." Though nearly 8,650 hectare of forest land - including a part of the Panna National Park — in Madhya Pradesh is likely to be submerged if the Ken-Betwa river project is implemented, the MoU (signed in 2005) had factored in these issues.

The proposal is also meant for inter-linking of rivers in Bihar and Maharashtra which will be taken up for implementation during the 12th Five-Year Plan period.

So far, detailed project reports (DPR) comprising cost of three out of 30 river-linking projects have been prepared. Though total cost of all the river linking projects has been estimated at around Rs 5,60,000 crore, the actual cost will be known only after the DPRs of all the 30 rive link projects are drawn up.

The full ILR project has two components - the Peninsular and the Himalayan. The Peninsular component - involving the rivers in southern India - envisaged developing a 'Southern Water Grid' with 16 river linkages in different states. This component included diversion of the surplus waters of Mahanadi and Godavari to the Pennar, Krishna, Vaigai and Cauvery rivers.

The Himalayan component is finalized for building storage reservoirs on the Ganga and the Brahmaputra and their main tributaries both in India and Nepal in order to conserve the waters during the monsoon for irrigation and generation of hydro-power, besides checking floods.

The Himalayan component is comprised of 14 links including Brahamputra-Ganga, Kosi-Ghagra, Kosi-Mech, Ghagra-Yamuna, Gandak-Ganga, Yamuna-Rajasthan, Rajasthan-Sabarmati, Sarda-Yamuna, Farakka-Sunderbans, Subernarekha-Mahanadi, and Ganga-Damodar-Subernarekha.

-          Vishwa Mohan & Dipak Kumar Dash,TNN | Jan 2, 2014, 01.15 AM IST

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