Inter-linking of rivers not feasible: Murli Manohar Joshi

New Delhi, May 11 (IANS) Inter-linking of rivers may not be feasible in most parts of the country as most rivers in India are already short of water, veteran BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi said on Wednesday.

Joshi was speaking at a press conference after the estimates committee of the Lok Sabha presented a report on Ganga rejuvenation.

Asked if inter-linking of rivers can be a solution to India’s water woes, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader said: “It is a complicated issue. Ken and Betwa rivers can be linked but Ken and Ganga cannot be.”

“All rivers are drying, how can you link the rivers?” he questioned.

Joshi said the issue needed to be debated thoroughly.

“Inter-linking of rivers needs much debate. It is feasible only in some places. The idea of linking rivers from Ganga to Kaveri is not possible,” he said.

“What would one beggar give another beggar,” he added.

The idea behind inter-linking of rivers lies in the theory that some rivers are water surplus, and some have less water. The plan focuses on connecting these rivers for more equitable distribution of water.

Environmentalists and scientists have however warned against the project, stressing that rivers cannot be treated like water pipelines, and diverting flow may destroy the ecology of the river, and the river itself.

Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti, in a special committee meeting for inter-linking of rivers last month, made a strong pitch for focusing on river inter-linking to tackle drought.

PM should head panel to oversee Ganga rejuvenation: Joshi

New Delhi, May 11 (IANS) BJP veteran Murli Manohar Joshi on Wednesday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should chair a committee to oversee the progress of projects aimed at rejuvenating river Ganga.

The suggestion came after the Lok Sabha’s Estimates Committee, headed by Joshi, presented a report expressing grave concern over the failure of programmes for cleaning the river which is the lifeline for around 43 percent of India’s population.

The committee, in its report that evaluated the Ganga rejuvenation plan, observed out that the Ganga is one of the 10 most polluted rivers in the world and has been called a dying river.

Joshi said work on cleaning the Ganga started in 1985 but, even after 20 years, nothing has changed.

The panel, in its report, recommends creation of an overarching and empowered authority for Ganga rejuvenation, to ensure uninterrupted flow in the river.

Joshi added that the prime minister should himself head a committee to monitor the progress of programmes for cleaning the Ganga.

“I would say the prime minister should constitute a committee which will comprise of experts, representatives from states and others, and it should be headed by the prime minister himself. The committee should also present a report annually to parliament over the progress,” Joshi said, adding that it was his suggestion and not of the committee.

The report also recommended a slew of measures, including commissioning of new sewage treatment plants, periodic testing of treated sewage water, collection of decadal data about the flow of the river, and preservation of old water bodies and construction of new ones along the banks of the river.

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