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

Mumbai issues global tender for 10 mn vaccines

Struggling with rationing and prioritising available supplies amid the acute Covid-19 vaccine shortage, the BrihanMumbai municipal corporation (BMC) has floated a global tender for supply of 1 crore doses, even as it has announced a walk-in vaccination campaign next week for select categories of citizens.

“Focus on percent of population vaccinated rather than numbers”

Expressing regret that despite being the largest producer of vaccines in the world things have fallen apart in India, Ashok Seth, a Padma Bhushan awardee and chairman of Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, has said that the focus needs to be on  percentage and not the number of population vaccinated. 

In Maharashtra, a wave of aid for the needy

In Maharashtra, the epicentre of India’s devastating second wave, several NGOs and civil society organisations have been at work to combat the pandemic – by spreading awareness about precautions, by helping the slum-dwellers book appointment for vaccine, by providing meals to the marginalised a

Daily recovery averages 3.28 lakh cases in 10 days

The cumulative number of Covid-19 vaccine doses administered in the country has crossed the landmark of 17 crore on Monday as the Phase 3 of the nationwide vaccination drive expands further. India is the fastest country to administer 17 crore Covid vaccine doses – China took 119 days and USA 115 days

“UP situation extremely bad, govt hiding data”

India is battling the second wave of Covid-19 and infections are spreading into the interiors of the country, says Dr Anurag Bhadouria, National Spokesperson, Samajwadi Party. It is precipitated by the elections in five states, the Kumbh Mela in Haridwar and also panchayat elections in many states, he says

CoWIN to have new security feature from Saturday

The CoWIN system, the overarching digital platform for citizens seeking appointment for the Covid-19 vaccine, is introducing a new four-digit security code” in the application from Saturday to minimise a peculiar error and subsequent inconvenience to citizens. “It has been notic

Visionary Talk with Dr. Ashok Seth, Padma Bhushan Awardee & Chairman, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute On Tackling Corona



Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter