KERALA

Medha warns against inter-linking rivers

PALAKKAD JAN. 25. The coordinator of the National Alliance of People's Movement, Medha Patkar, has said that the proposed inter-linking of rivers would lead to centralisation and privatisation of water resources.

Addressing a press conference here today, she said it would lead to people losing their rights over natural resources. Those who invest in the project would control the rivers and other natural resources, depriving the people of their resources to sustain life. The inter-linking of rivers has been planned without making any cost benefit analysis or environmental impact assessment. This would also lead to increasing fight among the States over river waters.

Ms. Medha said that in the name of global investment, ``people's natural resources are being snatched away by capitalists. Daming rivers deprives tribals and farmers of their rights over water and other natural resources. The agitation against the Naramada project is reaching a crucial stage and the adverse effect of the dam would be felt soon.

She said that in the name of disinvestment what is going on is disinvestment of people's assets. One by one they are loosing control over public sector companies and natural resources like rivers, forests, minerals, etc.

Ms. Medha said she is launching a nation-wide campaign, `Desh Bachao, Desh Banao Abhiyan' (Save the Nation, Build the Nation Campaign) on Republic Day from Plachimada in Palakkad, where an eight-month old agitation is on against the Coca-Cola company, which is usurping the water belonging to the community. Multinational companies like Coca-Cola and Pepsi which draw groundwater should be closed down.

She said the campaign would cover many States before it concludes at Ayodhya, the focal point of communal forces in the country, on March 30.

The National Campaign Committee conveners, Sandeep Pande, Siddharaj Daddha, Thomas Mathew, Geo Jose and others, were present.