Gone with NDA! Plan to link rivers gathers dust in PM office

via Kumar Chellappan l Chennai - DNA published on January 11, 2012

A comprehensive solution to the dispute between Tamil Nadu and Kerala over the 116-year-old Mullaperiyar Dam and the decades old Cauvery river water dispute between Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala lies in a cupboard in the prime minister’s office in New Delhi.

“These and many other similar disputes involving a number of states could be solved by the Union government by interlinking the country’s major rivers,” Suresh Prabhu, former chairman of the Task Force on interlinking rivers told DNA.

The 58-year-old chartered accountant -turned-politician had prepared an action plan to link the Brahmaputra, Ganges, Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna, Cauvery and Vaigi and submitted it to the PMO in 2004. “But the government disbanded not only the task force but even also the expert committee appointed by the ministry of water resources and gave the project an unceremonious burial,” said Prabhu.

“Since the day I was appointed as chairman of the task force in 2002 by the then prime minister AB Vajpayee, I addressed thousands of meetings across the country on the need to interlink the major rivers. I met chief ministers of all the states who told me that they were for the early implementation of the project,” said Prabhu who was in Chennai recently.

Vajpayee constituted the task force following a directive by the Supreme Court to interlink major rivers so that there would not be recurring floods and draught in various parts of the country. “But with the defeat of the NDA in the 2004 general elections, this project too died,” said BG Verghese, veteran journalist and a member of the task force.“The project would have helped irrigate an additional 35 million hectares of land and generated at least 35,000 MW of power,” he added.

According to Prabhu, “the entire project could have been implemented with the active participation of local bodies. Right now the Union government is fishing in troubled waters.”

Scientists of the Indian Space Research Organisation told this newspaper that they too had contributed to the action plan.

“We made use of the data and pictures from the remote sensing satellites to draw out the route of a national canal of approximately 200 meters width through which to transfer the surplus water to drought affected regions,” said a senior ISRO scientist.

Source Link – http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_gone-with-nda-plan-to-link-rivers-gathers-dust-in-pm-office_1636064

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