Joshi junks prime minister's river-linking plan

Joshi junks prime minister's river-linking plan

BJP senior prefers rainwater harvesting, afforestation

Joshi junks prime minister's river-linking plan

BJP’s ‘margdarshak’ Murli Manohar Joshi has dubbed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious plan to inter-links rivers “impractical”.

Joshi, who is a member of the BJP’s margdarshak mandal, instead favoured rainwater harvesting and mass afforestation drive as practical solution to effectively tackle the water crisis faced by parched regions such as Bundelkhand and Marathwada.

The former Union science and technology minister argued that rivers can be inter-linked on a small scale but it was not “practical” to go for it on a large scale at the national level.

Joshi, the Chairman of the Estimates Committee of Parliament, said thousands of kilowatts of power will be required to run pump sets to lift water from one end to another. “It will require power and money. We are short of power as it is...how water will cross the Malwa Plateau. Imagine the number of pumping sets required,” he contended.

Joshi was interacting with the media after tabling the report of the Estimates Committee on Ganga Rejuvenation. However, he clarified that the committee was not examining the government initiative to on inter-linking of rivers.

He said, had inter-linking been practical, then nature itself would have done it. “The rivers would have been inter-connected. But it is not,” he quipped.

The river interlinking project is considered as the brainchild of the NDA government the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had formed a task force in October 2002 to get the project going against the backdrop of the acute drought that year.

Modi too has accorded priority to the project that had not found an enthusiastic response during the UPA years.

The Centre has identified three projects for interlinking of rivers – Ken-Betwa  link, Damanganga-Pinjal link and Par-Tapi-Narmada link for preparation of detailed project reports (DPRs) by the National Water Development Agency (NWDA) out of 30 inter-state links identified under the National Perspective Plan (NPP).

According to a government estimates, approximately 35 million hectare of additional irrigation potential and 34,000 mega watts of hydro-power generation are the likely benefits envisaged under NPP, apart from the incidental benefits of flood moderation, navigation, drinking water supply, fisheries, salinity and pollution control.

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