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Interlinking of Indian Rivers: Floated Myths, Flouted Realities

Abstract

The gravity of concern about interlinking rivers (ILR) in India is huge and quite evidently has been associated with acrimonious debates. While various dispensations in the new millennium have generally been in favour of this mega-scale infrastructure project, no other infrastructure development project has perhaps received so much flak from the scientific community and the NGOs than the ILR project. Opposing discourses started flowing in ever since Suresh Prabhu took up the chairmanship of the task force of ILR in 2002—a position which he relinquished in 2006. The idea of interlinking is old enough to have invited the debate even in the last century. However, neither adequate scientific knowledge, nor appropriate technological know-how existed during that time to really take the debate to the public forum. The idea of linking rivers of India has its roots in the thoughts of Visveswarya, the stalwart engineer of yore. The idea was further extended by K.L. Rao, the legendary irrigation minister of India, and Captain Dastur, a pilot. Both Rao and Dastur envisaged the Ganga-Cauvery Link Canal and the Garland canals, respectively (Fig. 1). Rao felt that the solution to India’s water problems lie in transferring water from “water surplus” to “water deficit” basins. Even today, many believe that “robbing Peter to pay Paul” (RPBP) is a great idea to resolve the water problems.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    The sub-basins comprising left-bank of the Ganga (bulk of which will be linked) like the Ghaghara, Gandak and Kosi with the sub-basins of the right bank tributaries and distributaries like the Yamuna, Son and Bhagirathi/Hooghli, have a much higher PUWC per capita than the average for the entire Ganga Basin and also much higher average annual volume of discharge than their right bank counterparts.

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Correspondence to Nilanjan Ghosh .

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ANNEXURE

ANNEXURE

Peninsular Component
Sl. No. Name States concerned States benefited Annual irrigation (Lakh ha) Domestic and industrial supply (MCM) Hydro-power (MW) Status
1 Mahanadi (Manibhadra)- Godavari (Dowlaiswaram) link Orissa, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, & Chattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh & Orissa 0.91+3.52 =4.43 802 445 Feasibility report completed
2 Godavari (Inchampalli)- Krishna (Pulichintala) link Orissa, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka &Chattisgarh, Telangana & Andhra Pradesh 1.09+5.04 =6.13 413 -- Feasibility report completed
3 Godavari (Inchampalli)- Krishna (Nagarjunasagar) link -do- Telangana 2.87 237 975 Feasibility report completed
4 Godavari (Polavaram)- Krishna (Vijayawada) link Orissa, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, & Chattisgarh Andhra Pradesh 5.82 162 -- Feasibility report completed
5 Krishna (Almatti)- Pennar link -do- Andhra Pradesh & Karnataka 1.90+0.68 =2.58 56 -- Feasibility report completed
6 Krishna (Srisailam)- Pennar link Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka & Telangana -- -- -- 17 Feasibility report completed
7 Krishna (Nagarjunasagar)- Pennar (Somasila) link Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh & Karnataka, -do- 5.81 124 90 Feasibility report completed
8 Pennar (Somasila)- Cauvery (Grand Anicut) link Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala & Puducherry Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu & Puducherry 0.49+4.36 +0.06 =4.91 1105 -- Feasibility report completed
9 Cauvery (Kattalai)- Vaigai - Gundar link Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala & Puducherry Tamil Nadu 3.38 185 -- Feasibility report completed
10 Ken-Betwa link a) Ken-Betwa Link Phase-I b) Ken-Betwa link Phase-II Uttar Pradesh & Madhya Pradesh - do- Uttar Pradesh & Madhya Pradesh Madhya Pradesh 2.66 + 3.69 =6.35 0.99 496 78 DPR Phase-I completed in April 2010 & DPR Phase-II completed in January 2014.
11 Parbati-Kalisindh- Chambal link Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan & Uttar Pradesh (UP requested to be consulted during consensus building ) Madhya Pradesh & Rajasthan *Alt.I: 2.05+0.25 =2.30 (Alt.II : 1.77+0.43 =2.20) 13.2 -- Feasibility report completed
12 Par-Tapi-Narmada link Maharashtra & Gujarat Gujarat 2.32 76 22 DPR completed in August, 2015
13 Damanganga- Pinjal link (As per DPR ) Maharashtra & Gujarat Maharashtra (only water supply to Mumbai) -- 895 -- DPR completed in March 2014
14 Bedti-Varda link Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh & Karnataka Karnataka 0.60 -- 4 Pre-feasibility report completed
15 Netravati- Hemavati link Karnataka, Tamil Nadu & Kerala Karnataka 0.34 -- -- Pre-feasibility report completed
16 Pamba- Achankovil-Vaippar link Kerala & Tamil Nadu, Tamil Nadu 0.91 -- 508 Feasibility report completed
Himalayan Component
Sl. No. Name of the Link States/Country concerned States benefited Annual irrigation (Lakh ha) Domestic and industrial supply (MCM) Hydro- power (MW) Status
1. Manas-Sankosh-Tista-Ganga (M-S-T-G) link Assam, West Bengal, Bihar & Bhutan Assam, West Bengal & Bihar 2.08 + 1.82 + 2.64 = 6.54 -- 5287 FR in progress
2. Kosi-Ghaghra link Bihar, Uttar Pradesh & Nepal Bihar & Uttar Pradesh 8.17+ 0.67 + 1.74 (Nepal) = 10.58 48 -- FR in Indian portion in progress
3. Gandak-Ganga link -do- Uttar Pradesh 37.99+2.41(Nepal) = 40.40 700 -- Draft FR completed (for Indian portion)
4. Ghaghra-Yamuna link -do- Uttar Pradesh 25.30 + 1.35 (Nepal) =26.65 1391 10884 FR completed (for Indian portion)
5. Sarda-Yamuna link Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand & Nepal Uttar Pradesh & Uttarakhand 3.45 + 0.30 = 3.75 6250 3600 FR completed (for Indian portion)
6. Yamuna-Rajasthan link Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana & Rajasthan Haryana & Rajasthan 0.435 + 2.442 = 2.877 57 -- Draft FR completed
7. Rajasthan-Sabarmati link -do- Rajasthan & Gujarat 5.35 + 2.04 = 7.39 282 -- Draft FR completed
8. Chunar-Sone Barrage link Bihar & Uttar Pradesh Bihar & Uttar Pradesh 0.30 + 0.37 = 0.67 -- -- Draft FR completed
9. Sone Dam-Southern Tributaries of Ganga link Bihar & Jharkhand Bihar & Jharkhand 2.99 + 0.08 = 3.07 360 95 FR in progress
10. Ganga(Farakka)-Damodar- Subernarekha link West Bengal, Orissa & Jharkhand West Bengal, Orissa & Jharkhand 7.63 + 0.30 + 0.55 = 8.47 484 - Draft FR completed
11. Subernarekha-Mahanadi link West Bengal & Orissa West Bengal & Orissa 0.18 + 0.365 = 0.545 -- 9 Draft FR completed
12. Kosi-Mechi link Bihar, West Bengal & Nepal Bihar 2.99 + 1.75 (Nepal) = 4.74 24 3180 PFR completed. FR to be taken up Entirely lies in Nepal
13. Farakka-Sunderbans link West Bengal West Bengal 1.50 184 -- Draft FR completed
14. Jogighopa-Tista-Farakka link (Alternative to M-S-T-G) -do- Assam, West Bengal & Bihar ---- 216 1115 Alternative to M-S-T-G Link. Not to be taken up.

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Ghosh, N., Modak, S. (2022). Interlinking of Indian Rivers: Floated Myths, Flouted Realities. In: Mukherjee, A. (eds) Riverine Systems. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-87067-6_15

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