Friday, May 06, 2005

Interlinking of rivers

Here are two informative pieces from India Together about the Interlinking of Rivers (ILR) project. The second piece, which contains the text of a recent speech by Jairam Ramesh in the Rajya Sabha, sums up the issue nicely:

... I do believe that in today's day and age, with today's media, with today's civil society, it is not possible for us to overlook the ecological and human population resettlement consequences of such a massive scheme. Yesterday, you would have seen in the newspapers, Sir, that there is a new study that has come out, that has called into question the utility of Bhakhra Nangal Dam. Sir, even today's day and age, I do not think that we can rush into this project oblivious of the consequences of resettlement of millions of people, and let us also face it, Sir, India's track record in resettlement and rehabilitation has been pathetic, has been poor. This is a blot on our collective conscience.

The ILR proposal is not a new one; however, nobody paid any attention to it until recently for a good reason: its huge cost -- financial, environmental and human. There is now a heightened interest in ILR because of certain pronouncements by the Supreme Court and the zeal with which our President, Dr. Abdul Kalam, has been pushing the idea. See a paraphrase of Dr. Kalam's 9th question in this article, and the reply provided by some concerned citizens; see also this excellent op-ed by one of these concerned citizens, Ramaswamy Iyer, in the Hindu dated 14 December 2003.

Bottomline: while some parts of the proposal might make sense, the project as a whole is not at all a good idea. Sorry, Sunil, it will not "in one single master-stroke solve all of India's water problems".

Update: India Together has an article about recent research on the Bhakra dam that Jairam Ramesh talked about in his speech.


  1. Anonymous said...

    Thanks for your comments on my blog.

    I left that teaser line in my blog, mostly in an ironical way. A number of people have been shouting that "river linking" is a solution to all of India's problems. But the questions it raises are far more than the solutions it offers (which was the idea of that blog).

    I personally am working with a number of people who are very interested researching the pitfalls (which just seem to be rising as we research more) in this grand scheme.

    Very nice blog.