In response to Suresh Prabhu's article 
Garland of Hope - River-linking as a Solution to Water Crisis, Times of India, 14th August 2004, Som Pal and Dunu Roy respond with the following articles.

Also look at the Himanshu Thakkar's article of
Manufacturing Consensus For Collective Suicide

Garland of Hope: River-linking as a Solution to Water Crisis

[ SATURDAY, AUGUST 14, 2004]

The drought-flood-drought syndrome repeats itself periodically. This year, a third of the country in the north-east and east is hit by floods while almost half of the country is threatened by drought. With 4 per cent water resources and 15 per cent of world's population, which is rising and likely to touch almost 25 per cent in 2050, the situation will soon worsen. Per capita availability of water was 6,008 cubic metres in 1947. Now it is 1,700 cubic metres. By 2050, it will be 1,140 cubic metres, that too because of excess water availability in eastern India (the per capita availability in Brahmaputra basin is as high as 13,000 cubic metres). But water availability in Pennar and Sabarmati basins is as low as 300 cubic metres per capita.


Forgotten Links: Focus on Existing Projects, Not 'River Garland'

The 'Garland of Hope' (Aug 14) by Suresh Prabhu, chairman of the task force on the river linking project, contains the oft-repeated data on rainfall, utilisable and already harnessed water resources. The core issues needing straight answers seem to have escaped his attention, some of which have since been addressed by Dunu Roy in his 'Garland of Hype' (Aug 27).

The assumption that there is surplus water available for transfer to other basins is not correct. Most of the river basins of India are deficit ones. It may be argued that the flood waters during the monsoon can be transferred to deficit areas. But most of the existing dam reservoirs seldom get filled to cater to the given requirements of irrigation and power generation.


Garland of Hype: River-linking A Misplaced Technological Fantasy
[ FRIDAY, AUGUST 27, 2004]

The interlinking of rivers, according to Prabhu, has several objectives. Other than the transfer from surplus to deficient basins through canals and storage basins (sic), the project will also generate hydel power, increase irrigation, recharge groundwater, moderate floods, and open up navigation - besides, of course, ensuring a minimum flow in the rivers. What is not discussed is how these various objectives are actually in competition with each other. For example, the demands of hydel on impounded water are often in conflict with the demands of irrigation. Farmers require the release of water into irrigation channels in the summer season, and that is precisely the time when power utilities want the water to remain impounded in the reservoir in order to spin the turbines. Similarly, flood waters should be stored behind the dam during the rains, but that is also the time when dam managers want to release the waters to ensure the safety of their dams. Ground-water recharges want the flood waters to spread over the flood plain at the same time as flood managers want to confine the flood waters between embankments. Water management, therefore, is not just about throwing a cluster of desires into the same wishing-pot, it is also about resolving the conflicts between competing demands.


Govt assures SC it will continue with river-linking
[ TUESDAY, AUGUST 31, 2004 06:37:38 AM ]

The Congress-led UPA government on Monday told the Supreme Court that it would keep the previous NDA government's ambitious of Rs 5,00,000-crore river inter-linking project flowing.

Solicitor-general G E Vahanvati said that the Centre had in principle decided not to go back on the project. However, the matter would be placed before the Union Cabinet for a comprehensive review in September...


Refer to Dinshaw Dastur's "Garland Canal Project" (CED Access.Code: R.K60.609)