Water is scarce in nature, it must be used judiciously. Nothing could go right without water on this Earth. It is a vital resource responsible for the existence of all the living beings. We call ourselves humans, and happily believe in the fact that we are ‘rational creatures’ who are continuously busy, depleting the very existence of water, which if once drained will take millions of years to renew.
Taking these parameters into consideration, PM Modi has launched certain programmes and strategies to fulfill the requirement of water all across India. The plight of India lies in the fact that farmers of our country lack basic modern amenities due to the shortage of financial resources. So, in order to overcome the problem of irrigation, Interlinking of Rivers (ILR) projects are planned to be undertaken by the Government of India to control droughts in the water shortage areas and floods in the water excess regions. The logic behind it is to reduce the farmers’ dependency on uncertain monsoon rains. This ambitious river-linking project is estimated to involve a cost up to Rs 5.5 lakh crores.
Highlights of PM Modi’s River-Linking Project:
1. This River-Linking project is a large-scale civil engineering project.
2. The project aims to link rivers via a network of canals and reservoirs all across India.
3. Living in a democratic setup, we must not only talk about equality on the basis of caste, colour, rights, creed and sex, but peace in our nation will reside when all its citizens have an equal access to its diverse resources.
4. The National Perspective Plan (NPP) is responsible for focusing on this project of 150 million acre feet (MAF), along with 185 billion cubic metres of shortage of water. This will involve building of inter-links.
5. The system that will be created for storage purposes will lead to the addition of approximately 170 million acre feet capacity of water. This stored water will then be used for beneficial purposes in various states.
6. Construction of large reservoirs will lead to the generation of 34 gigawatt of hydroelectric power.
7. Around 30 canals are proposed to be built, between 50 to 100 metres in width, and stretching up to 15,000 km.
Who will manage this project? And how will it progress strategically?
This inter-linking project is completely managed and controlled by India’s National Water Development Agency (NWDA), which operates under the Union Ministry of Water Resources.
The project is bifurcated into 3 parts:
1. A northern Himalayan Rivers inter-link component.
2. A southern Peninsular component.
3. An intrastate rivers linking component.
So far, NWDA has gone through the project details and reports have been prepared on 14 inter-link projects of the Himalayan component, whereas 16 inter-link projects for the southern Peninsular component and 37 of intrastate river linking project reports have been completed.
Some major River-Linking projects include:
The name given to this River-Linking project is the Pinjal Link Project. This project has been proposed by the Government of India’s National Water Development Authority (NWDA). The major idea behind the linkage of this project is to connect the Daman Ganga river to the Pinjal reservoir, located on the Pinjal river to the south. Through this project, the water will be diverted to Mumbai. Tripartite agreement was signed in 2010, between the government of Gujarat, Maharashtra and the Central government. Moreover, as of January 2015, Pinjal Link project was approved for implementation. Government has planned to complete this entire project within a period of 9 years. The cost involving this project, as per 2015-16, is around Rs 3,008 crores.
The name given to this project is Narmada Link Project. The Detailed Project Report (DPR) of Par-Tapi-Narmada link project was completed till August 2015 by National Water Development Agency (NWDA). It was submitted to the Government of Gujarat and Maharashtra. The basic idea behind this multipurpose project is to serve the irrigation needs. The round cost of this project is estimated to be Rs 10,211 crores (as per 2015-16).
3. Manas-Sankosh-Teesta-Ganga Link
This link project is initiated under the Himalayan component and is a part of National Perspective Plan (NPP). The basic idea behind this link is to divert the surplus waters of Sankosh and Manas rivers in order to control the flow of Ganga at Farakka. This will further lead to the transfer of water in the water-shortage areas such as Krishna, Cauvery and Pennar basins respectively. The logic behind this is to provide the best of irrigation facilities.
4. Mahanadi-Godavari Link Project
This is a link project based on a critical link of the nine link system. This includes Mahanadi-Godavari-Krishna-Pennar-Cauvery-Vaigai-Gundar under NPP. In August 1980, this project was prepared by the Ministry of Irrigation. The thought behind this link project was to transfer surplus water to the water deficit basins. The National Water Development Agency (NWDA) has identified a total of 30 links. This includes 16 links under the Peninsular component and 14 under the Himalayan component. All the Pre-Feasibility Reports (PFRs) are already prepared. Moreover, they have been circulated among the concerned state authorities.
5. Ken – Betwa Link Project
The Government of India has declared this link project as a national project. It will involve construction of a dam on the Ken river famously known as the Karnavati, situated in north-central India. This is a 22 km (14-mile) canal which is connecting the river to the shallow Betwa. The detailed proceedings and documents of the public hearing under Phase 1 of Ken were submitted to Climate Change Authorities of Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control and Ministry of Environment and Forests in April 2015. Presently, clearances related to this link project are in advance stages. Government is all set to implement this national project. Moreover, they will be considering it as a part of the ILR programme.
6. Intra-State Links
The National Water Development Agency (NWDA), has already received 46 proposals from the intra-state links of 9 states. These include Gujarat, Maharashtra, Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka and Bihar. As on March 2015, from the total of 46 proposals, Pre-Feasibility Reports (PFRs) of 35 intra-state links is already completed by NWDA.
List of Benefits involved:
1. This will lead to addition of 35 million hectares for irrigation.
2. It will increase the irrigation potential from 140 million hectares to around 175 million hectares.
3. These projects will lead to the generation of 34,000 megawatt power.
4. Other than the ones stated above, major benefits will also include navigation, water supply, salinity, flood control and pollution control.
Our nation is progressing, soon we will become a developed nation, which is a long awaited dream not only of our citizens but our PM’s too. If projects like these are completed and implemented on time, then that day is not far when each one of us will enjoy the fruits of our nation’s progress and development.