Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s dream project ‘River-linking’ set to take off
 Source : NewsBharati  Date : 03-Sep-2017

New Delhi, September 3: The BJP government of 2002 had come up with the novel river linking project that involves connecting 60 rivers in the country. After years of bureaucratic delays, Rs 5.55 lakh crore schemes are finally set to take off. The mission of this programme is to ensure greater equity in the distribution of water by enhancing the availability of water in drought prone and rainfed area.

The project is expected to provide relief to the monsoon floods that afflict much of North India and reduce the farmers’ dependence on fickle monsoon rains. Hence PM Modi has personally pushed through clearances for the first phase of the project which would also generate thousands of megawatts of electricity the sources say. 

“We have got clearances in record time, with the last round of clearances coming in only this year,” Sanjeev Balyan, said junior water resources minister. “The Ken-Betwa interlinking tops the priority list of the government.”

Government officials say diverting water from bounteous rivers such as the Ganges, Godavari and Mahanadi to sparse waterways by building a clutch of dams and a network of canals is the only solution to floods and droughts.

The government is also finishing up paperwork on projects in western India linking the Par-Tapi with the Narmada and the Daman Ganga with the Pinjal. The projects involve Modi’s home state of Gujarat and neighbouring Maharashtra, which includes Mumbai, both also ruled by the BJP.

Large areas of eastern and north-eastern India are reeling under floods in which hundreds have died, while torrential rain also brought the commercial capital Mumbai to a standstill this week. The southern state of Tamil Nadu, in contrast, recently rationed drinking water due to drought.

The overall implementation of Interlinking of Rivers programme under National Perspective Plan would give benefits of 35 million hectares of irrigation, raising the ultimate irrigation potential from 140 million hectare to 175 million hectare and generation of 34000 megawatt of power, apart from the incidental benefits of flood control, navigation, water supply, fisheries, salinity and pollution control etc.

A Task Force for Interlinking of Rivers has been constituted by the Ministry on April 13, 2015 which also meets the requirement of Committee of experts as directed by the Cabinet while approving the constitution of Special Committee. Two meetings of Task Force was held on April 23, 2015 and November 05, 2015.