BENGALURU: In 2015, a task force for interlinking of rivers was constituted by the Ministry of Water Resources. But the experts not only term it unfeasible but also call it economically and socially disastrous.
Terming Union Minister and former chairman of the task force committee on linking rivers, Mr Suresh Prabhu’s statement that interlinking of rivers would solve the problem of drought and flood as oversimplistic, Maj Gen (retd) S.G. Vombatkere of National Alliance of People’s Movement at a symposium organised by Environment Support Group (ESG) said on Friday that the project will lead to displacement of people and may lead to social tensions.
He said, “When the government talks of interlinking, they do not mention dams as they are required at every spot to interlink rivers. Moreover, if the project fails to achieve its aim, the economic recovery will be difficult.”Taking the example of Bihar which witnesses floods every year, it was highlighted that Ganga floods at 55,000 cumecs on an average and if 2,000 cumecs is pumped, it would solve only 4% of the problem. Moreover, if the huge volume is pumped out during dry season, the state would not keep quiet as they need the water.
Dr Sharachchandra Lele, Senior Fellow, ATREE, told the gathering that Arkavathy River dried not because of climatic changes as many suggest, but due to ground water pumping for farming.
“There is no link between change in hydrology of river and forest cover. We found that Gurupura River where the flow of water was declining, the reason attributed to it could only be the construction of the ring wells from where the water is pumped and not deforestation,” Dr Lele said.
It was also brought out that interlinking is aimed to benefit big projects and scant regard is paid to the disastrous impact it will have.