Ken-Betwa River linking project (Photo by: The Indian Express)
River Linking projects will responsible for the loss of human as well as aquatic lives and may because of fight for water.

The Government has decided to start the River Linking Project. This can be a good decision in terms of water supply to dry areas.

The River Linking project means connecting two rivers for proper water supply. We can understand the river linking project in two ways. –

  1. Connecting two rivers within a state.
  2. Connecting two rivers with states

The following problems highlight the connectivity of two rivers within a state-

  •  We have cheaper alternatives of the traditional water harvesting technologies are available. Rainwater harvesting was brought into the use by traditional water harvesting, which was free of cost and there was excess availability of water. But in this project water will be transferred from one place to another which leads shortage of water in both places and construction will be expensive.
  • Secondly, the water will be transferred from Floods River to the Low Water River. Many of the crops grow in floods River environment. As the water increase in flood River, mostly crops grow. If the water of flood river will be put elsewhere then those crops will not get proper water to grow and ultimately those crops will be in is attached here(page 24,Para 2).
  • The aquatic living organisms have different detached environments at different places in river according to which they grow into their environment. But if we take river water into another river, it is natural to have a difference in the environment, due to which many aquatic creatures will be displaced or they will end. And it is also possible that many species become extinct as in the context of Hilsa and Mahseer fishes.The ecological impact of such transfers is both uncertain and unknown.
  • One of the river linking projects has constructed recently between Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh named as Ken-Betwa River linking project, which is likely to submerge more than 6000 hectare of forest land including prime tiger habitat. The forest advisory committee says that it is not possible to compensate the loss because the submergence area falls in a riverine habitat which is unique and cannot be replicated elsewhere. Also the committee had noted that the cost benefit analysis had not paid attention to eco system services lost due to "diversion of unique riverine eco system." FAC has recommended a cost benefit analysis should be done considering the ecological cost of diversion for River linking. Report on cost of this project is attached here.

The following problems highlight the connectivity of two rivers with states

  • States are already not satisfied from the water distribution from river. The dispute over water sharing between Sutlej Yamuna between Punjab and Haryana has been deepened for more than 50 years. The Punjab government says that the level of water in the state is very low. If we give water to Haryana through the Sutlej-Yamuna Canal, then there will be water crisis in Punjab. At the same time, the Haryana government is declaring its authority over the water of Sutlej. Even after the Supreme Court order, Punjab is refusing to give water.
  • Similarly, in the Cauvery water dispute, Karnataka says that due to low rainfall, the water levels in the Cauvery have decreased and that is why they cannot give water to Tamil Nadu. Against this, Tamilnadu knocked on the Supreme Court. Tamilnadu says that he wants water in every situation, or else millions of his farmers will be wasted. If such issues already exist between states, then how it will be possible that the states will be satisfy by obtaining water from River Linking.

 Therefore this is our request to Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi that take quick decision to stop these River linking projects as soon as possible, which are more harmful in our environment, ecosystems and economic matters.

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