Why shipping in Ganga may not be that good an idea

The government is ignoring the hydrology of the river as it focuses on developing waterways along it, says river scientist and former BHU professor UK Chaudhary

GN Bureau | June 16, 2016


#Nitin Gadkari   #Narendra Modi   #Varanasi   #Ganga   #BHU   #Shipping  
Prime minister Narendra Modi at Asi ghat in Varanasi
Prime minister Narendra Modi at Asi ghat in Varanasi

The government has planned to promote navigation in rivers, including the mighty Ganga. Union minister for road transport, highways and shipping Nitin Gadkari has set a target to increase the share of water transport to 15 percent from the current share of 3.5 percent by 2019.

The national waterways bill passed by the parliament earlier this year converts 101 rivers into a national waterway which will create approximately 14,500 km of navigable waterways in the country.

However, this ambitious project may hinder the Ganga (2,525 km) rejuvenation plan of the government.

River scientist and former professor at IIT-BHU, Prof UK Chaudhary says, “The potential of a river to meet requirements for various purposes is limited. It is not infinite. One has to understand this while extracting Ganga water for different purposes.”

“The government is completely ignoring the hydrology of Indian rivers. For example, in Ganga, you ply ships only if there is sufficient depth. If you increase the depth of the river via dredging, you will disturb its natural course. For a month the water transport will be smooth, but after a while the river will take its own course. The river bed will try to come to its natural form,” he says.

He added that the shipping in Ganga can further lead to more problems. “As the ships will run on petrol or diesel, the river will get polluted, and aquatic life will get disturbed. The other problem will be erosion or sedimentation of the river bed. When the ship moves in the direction of the flow of the river, it will change the natural river [flow] and hence will cause erosion of the sand bed. Similarly, if the ship moves in opposite direction it will lead to sedimentation,” the river scientist said ahead of a discussion on the Ganga economics held in Varanasi recently.

“There are several such developmental projects which are harnessing river water at the cost of the health of the river. One such example is the Asi ghat in Varanasi which was an ambitious project of the central government. Many people don’t know that the Modi-led work on re-building this ghat in Varanasi has shifted the river 60 metres away.”

He believes that selling Ganga jal can be more economical than shipping in Ganga.

“I believe there is nothing wrong in selling Ganga water via India Post. At least, it doesn’t harm the health of the river and costs nothing. You can make millions out of it and invest the same, if you wish, on rejuvenation of the river,” he said.
 

Comments

 

Other News

Thus ends the Chidamba-Run!

The arrest of Palaniappan Chidambaram, former union minister of home & finance, by the CBI, albeit after his much dramatic disappearance and reappearance, has brought an end to his long run from the arms of law. As a finance minister, being at the other end of the law, the former ministe

What Imran’s rant against RSS tells us about Modi’s Kashmir policy

An unintended consequence of the inversion of Article 370 and the division of the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories is the curious revival of Pakistan’s interest in Indian history and sociology. For the first time in decades, a Pakistan prime minister made the Rasht

On a Personal note with actor Neeraj Kabi

Neeraj Kabi, a critically acclaimed self-taught actor, theatre director, and acting teacher, has worked in Odiya, Hindi and international cinema, theatre, television and web series. In 2014 he was honoured with the best actor award at the 4th Sakhalin International Film Festival for his role in the fil

Talking to Trump, Modi hits out at Imran’s anti-India rhetoric

Prime minister Narendra Modi has told US president Donald Trump that Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan’s “incitement to anti-India violence” was not good for peace in south Asia. Modi and Trump had a telephonic conversation – their first since the Aug 5 move to chang

Paediatricians call for junking unhealthy food

As children are consuming more and more fast foods and sweetened beverages are becoming, leading to obesity and related non-communicable diseases (NCDs), the Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP) has come out with guidelines on such substances. The dietary guidelines under its nutrition chapter

Modi’s forward-looking I-Day speech lays down 5-year agenda

Contrast prime minister Narendra Modi’s first Independence Day speech in 2014 with his latest, the first in the second term, and you know the difference. His first speech was less about future and much about the basic needs like Swachch Bharat (clean India). His speech on Thursday, on the other hand,



Current Issue

Current Issue

Video

CM Nitish’s convoy attacked in Buxar

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter