Wednesday, Jun 29, 2022
Outlook.com
opinion

Waiting For 'Godaganga'

The idea of inter-linking rivers is age-old, so why don't the critics shut up?

Waiting For 'Godaganga'
illustration by Sandeep Adhwaryu
Waiting For 'Godaganga'
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

The idea and practice of inter-linking rivers (ILR) is therefore age-old and worldwide. Why then the surprise and wonder if the Cauvery impasse and omens of climate change impel the Supreme Court to urge that the 20-year water balance studies and 30 potential links listed by the National Water Development Agency (NWDA) be dusted and examined for their feasibility, impacts, sustainability, funding, and federal and international dimensions? Per capita availability of water in India has declined from 5,177 to 1,869 cubic metres since 1951 and will be down to 1,140 cubic metres by 2050.

Faulty language and fragmented pronouncements of official policies tend to obscure context. The ILR is not a 'project', but a concept. The supposed price tag of Rs 5,60,000 crore is a misleading aggregation based on questionable premises. Moreover, it is not a single, stand-alone panacea for the country's water problems but the apex of a progression of integrated micro to mega measures in an overall but unarticulated national water strategy.

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