The most ambitious plan for interlinking of rivers has already raised protests from some states including Kerala. T he project if implemented will have lot of advantages to many areas but at the same time some states fear disadvantages also. Dr. Brijesh Nair, Professor, V.I.T.University,Vellore in this article, describes the proposed ILR and the traces the history of the largest infrastructure project in the world, if implemented.
Can anyone in South India take a bath in the river Ganga just by having a dip in any one of the rivers in South India? This seems something that is hard to believe but is bound to happen if the interlinking of rivers (ILR) becomes a reality in the present form.
History of ILR in India Sir Arthur Cotton, the man behind restoration of Grand Anicut on the river Cauvery, proposed a plan to link rivers in southern India in the early decades of the 19th century. In the post-Independence India, K L Rao, a former irrigation minister, proposed ILR by forming a National Water Grid, connecting the water-surplus Ganga and the Brahmaputra rivers to South and West of India, which are water-deficient.
In the early 1980s, the-then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi constituted the National Water Development Agency (NW DA) with the aim to detail planning for ILR. The Supreme Court of India, acting on a petition in 2003, directed the Government of India to complete all planning required to launch the project by 2006 and complete the project by 2016. Since then, many high-powered, multidisciplinary task forces were constituted by the
Union Government with very little progress. The ILR concept got a new life with the BJP coming to power in the general election of 2014. The ILR is a
pet project of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his N DA Government. Water Resources and River Development Minister Uma Bharti has announced ‘Interlinking of rivers within 7-10 years’ which gave a fresh life to the ILR project.
(Read the full part of this article from the February issue of Safety Messenger Magazine)