The Bharatiya Janata Party has criticised the Congress for making “disparaging” comments about the idea of linking the country’s rivers.
Party spokesman Prakash Javadekar, drawing attention to the flood havoc in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra, said it was time the government took up the challenge of linking of rivers — conceptually a 100-year old idea — to prevent floods and bring water to the water-starved areas.
He objected to the recent comments by Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh of describing the idea of linking of rivers as a “human and environmental disaster” and to comments ascribed to Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi that one must be careful when playing with nature. Mr. Javadekar described Mr. Ramesh’s comments as “anti-development.”
Mr. Javadekar said linking of river was important to end the cycle of floods and drought. This should not be seen in political terms just because the former National Democratic Alliance government was keen on such a scheme.
While the Congress has said a river-linking plan would entail enormous financial and human costs — it would involve displacement of hundreds of lakhs of people — the BJP has been pushing the idea.