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Updated: April 10, 2012 16:18 IST

Ahluwalia cautions on inter-linking of rivers

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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia at the inaugural ceremony of India Water Week in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia at the inaugural ceremony of India Water Week in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Against the backdrop of a Supreme Court direction asking the Centre to constitute a committee for rivers inter-linking, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia on Tuesday said before inter-basin transfer of water a variety of issues needed to be settled first.

While hoping that the proposed committee under the Water Resources Ministry will strive hard to work on the issue, he said various technical, environmental and economic issues need to be addressed for proposed inter-linking.

Referring to the Himalayan component of rivers inter-linking, Dr. Ahluwalia said “effective exploitation” of capacity of these rivers is critically dependent on the international agreements.

“It is not a decision India can take alone,” he said.

Referring to environmental issues, he said any large scale diversion of water will require environmental impact surveys.

He was speaking at a technical session of India Water Week inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh this morning.

Pointing to certain studies, Dr. Ahluwalia said interference with the natural flow of river is not a good idea and any diversion which leads to reduction in flow into the Bay of Bengal will alter the layers of salinity in that part of the ocean.

Dr. Ahluwalia explained, “...upper layers have lower salinity...if that is altered beyond a certain point, it will alter the build up of heat in Bay of Bengal which could seriously disrupt the monsoon cycle.”

On the economic aspects of inter-linking, the Planning Commission deputy chief said if rivers from north and east are connected, then enormous amount of power will be used to pump water upto the Deccan Plateau.

“That will introduce additional element of cost surplus in some places,” he said.

He also observed that some states are reluctant to agree that they have surplus water and said water that was surplus in 1950 may not be surplus today when its usage has increased manifold.

There were 30 possible links were identified. Out of those 16 are in the Himalayan component and 14 are in the peninsular component.


It's time water is optimally priced: PMApril 10, 2012

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He should be given a shutup call. He is always anti the Ideas not born out of him and his ideas are worth dust bin. He manipulates Manmohan to his advantage and has ruined the country ever since he is Dy Planning Commission. No doubt that an expert panel from various works of society should consider the proposal before it is executed. Rivers and water should be declared national resource and should be with Central Government to iron out the political fantasies on this grave issue.

from:  ak singh
Posted on: Apr 11, 2012 at 09:40 IST

Indians should be proud to have likes of Montek Singh Ahluwalia in
their amid. He caution on interlinking of rivers and the irreversible
ecological damage it can cause, is very timely. The issue at stake is
the very survival of our future generation and should not be trivialised
by mere judicial pronouncement.

from:  N.G. Krishnan
Posted on: Apr 10, 2012 at 17:31 IST

For once I agree with Mr. M.S. Ahluwalia. It is extremely dangerous business to
tamper with the free flow of rivers, from an ecosystem perspective. Moreover, no
society can survive long without a well functioning ecosystem and in India they are
taxed to the limit. It would behoove us as a nation , if we stopped listening to these
siren songs solutions and implemented conservation measures faithfully. The answer
to the use of a fixed and shared resource like water in neither privatization nor the
application of exploitative technology with unintended side effects that might have
irreversible consequences.

from:  G Parameswaran
Posted on: Apr 10, 2012 at 17:18 IST

This project should be given sincere consideration. At a time when a place is suffering from flood at the same time another place is suffering from drought in India. The proper linkage of the rivers can overcome such problems; with nature one doesn't get much chances to add two problems for one solution.

from:  Tapish
Posted on: Apr 10, 2012 at 16:58 IST
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