The Indian government is all set to start work on an ambitious $87 billion plan that aims to connect some of the biggest rivers of the country. The central government considers that this project would enable them to put an end to the annual havoc created by droughts and floods in many parts of the country. Recently Reuters reported that Narendra Modi’s plan is to link around 60 major rivers in India, which includes the Ganges. This is expected to help end farmers’ dependence on unreliable monsoon rains and helping in bringing millions of additional hectares of cultivable land under irrigation.
This year itself, India has lost around 1,000 lives to the floods that devastated large parts on both the eastern and well as western parts of the country.
Though the plan was first put forth in 2002, during the regime of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, work could not be started back then as the states failed to end differences over water sharing contracts. News reports hold that PM Modi has personally been able to push through clearances for the first phase of the project, which would also help generate thousands of megawatts of electricity.
Here’s a glimpse to the first phase of the river linking project as well as other similar projects being carried out in some states:
1. The Ken-Betwa River Interlinking Project.
For this project a dam is to be built on the river Karnavati, also known as Ken, in northern India which will them be connected with Betwa river through a 22 km-long canal. Both the rivers flow through vast acres in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, and the PM hopes this project would become a template for other proposed river interlinking projects.
Since the river Karnavati flows through a tiger reserve, the government plans to clear out 6.5 per cent of the area to build the dam. The Center is likely to give clearance to the project soon.
2. Project To Interlink Par-Tapi With Narmada & Daman Ganga With Pinjal.
A Reuters report states that the paperwork for interlinking of Par-Tapi river with Narmada and Daman Ganga is nearing completion. This project concerns PM’s home state of Gujarat and the neighboring state Maharashtra, both ruled by BJP.
3. Godavari-Krishna Interlinking Project In Andhra Pradesh
This plan of interlinking Godavari and Krishna has been successfully completed by Andhra Pradesh earlier this year in a record time of a year. Although the project was visualised way back in the 1950s, it was revived only in 2002, when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was prime minister.
According to Andhra Pradesh water resources minister Devineni Umamaheswara, this river interlinking project has helped farmers in saving their crops.
The diversion of water will benefit West Godavari, Krishna, Guntur and Prakasam districts.
As a result of diverting 143 TMC water from Godavari to Krishna in the years 2015 and 2016 crops valued at almost Rs 8,500 crore were saved in the region.
4. Godavari-Penna Interlinking Project In Andhra Pradesh
After successful interlinking of Godavari and Krishna, the Andhra Pradesh government has asked the Water and Power Consultancy Services (India) Limited (WAPCOS) to prepare a Detailed Project Report (DPR) to supply water directly to Rayalaseema. The Godavari-Penna Interlinking project is expected to cost around Rs 80,000 crore.
5. Thamirabarani-Karumeniyar-Nambiyar Rrivers Interlinking Project In Tami Nadu
The Tamil Nadu government has initiated work on the project to interlink Thamirabarani, Karumeniyar and Nambiyar rivers by excavating a new flood carrier canal from the existing Kannadian channel, which is one of the channels of river Thamirabarani. The project has been under discussion since 2008. The estimated cost then was Rs 369 crore, which has now been revised to Rs 850 crores.
6. Six More River Linking Projects In Tamil Nadu
According to reports, there are at least six more projects in the pipeline in Tamil Nadu, which involve a cost of around Rs 9,000 crores. The projects include Pennaiyar (Krishnagiri reservoir)-Palar link to transfer water from Krishnagiri dam to Kallar, a tributary of Palar; Pennaiyar (Sathanur dam) – Palar link to feed the Nandan Channed; Cauvery-Sarabanga link to boost irrigation potential in sub-basin of Sarabanga, Thirumaniamutha and Muisiri.