Diverting rivers for linking, a catastrophic idea: Questioning the state impetus to river inter-linking despite uncertain economic, social and ecological benefits

The economic feasibility of river interlinking is still debatable, while studies show that it will cause social and ecological harm. Despite this, states are still taking this program forward. Gopal Krishna examines this phenomenon.

Author: Gopal KrishnaToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA)

Article courtesy: The South Asian

Supreme Court heard the Networking of Rivers Case (Writ Petition Civil 512 of 2002) on October 17, 2011 which entails diversion of rivers for linking them in both Himalayan and peninsular India. The bench asked questions about its financial viability and possible social impacts. 

This article examines a report by the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) which determined the viability of the programme. It points out lacunae in the report, as well as several changes that have been made to the programme that significantly affect the premises on which the report was based. The international naure of some of the rivers included in the programme, and the fragility of transboundary cooperation in the region is used as a reason to abort these links. The economics of the programme is also detailed. 

The report of the National Commission for Water Resource Development which challenges some of the assumptions made in the NCAER report is also referred to. The links for which feasibility studies have been developed are listed in the article. A boycott of civil society from the deliberations over the river interlinking project is called for in light of the Nation's ignoring their statements.

Read the entire article here.

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