The project will bring water from surplus areas to deficit regions and recharge groundwater
GN Bureau | April 15, 2015
The government has constituted a ‘task force’ to frame road map for massive national river linking project.
The Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation’s ‘task force’ on interlinking of rivers would be chaired by BN Navalawala, ex-secretary of ministry of water resources.
The expert members of the Task Force would be Sriram Vedire, adviser in the ministry of water resources, Prodipto Ghosh, former secretary, ministry of environment and forests, AD Mohile, former chairman, central water commission (CWC), M Gopalakrishnan, ex-member of CWC and Virag Gupta, advocate. Other members are additional secretary and joint secretary (finance) in the ministry of water resources, chairman of CWC and director general of national water development agency.
Navalawala is an internationally known water resources expert with specialisation in planning, design and execution of multipurpose projects, flood management and financial management.
The task force will take up all issues for expediting the work on interlinking of rivers in the country. Apart from examining the existing links that are laid out as per the national perspective plan under both Himalayan and Peninsular components, the task force would also consider alternative plans in place of infeasible links in the present plan.
The task force would facilitate interlinking of intra-state and intra-basin rivers also along with that of inter-state and inter-basin links.
An important function of the task force would be to recommend time schedules for completion of feasibility studies and project reports of all the links, implementation schedule of all the links and also suggest on various means of funding mechanisms. The whole project was estimated in 2002 at Rs 5 lakh crores.
The task force would also provide guidance on norms of appraisal of individual projects in respect of economic viability, socio-economic, environmental impacts and preparation of resettlement plans.
It has also been asked to frame suitable mechanisms for bringing about speedy consensus among the states and also propose suitable organizational structure. It would also try to forge a consensus among the states for the speedy implementation of the interlinking of rivers programme.
The ultimate goal of the programme is to support quest for food, livelihoods and water security in India.
The river linking project will help in overcoming alarming groundwater depletion and degradation, recharge depleting aquifers in western and southern India and look at huge environmental gains and energy savings, especially in eastern India (which faces flooding during every monsoon).
Most importantly, the project will bring water from surplus basin to water deficit basin.
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