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October 23, 2005
Below are objections raised by a group of learned men led by Shri V.B. Eswaran, Former Secretary, GOI and seconded by Dr. R.N. Athavale of Hyderabad (AP)and fifty others.
- A project that was not on the anvil has suddenly become the most important undertaking of the Government because of some observations of the Supreme Court on a writ petition; this seems to be the case of bypassing the Planning courses.
- The National Commission for Integrated Water Resources Development Plan in its report (September 1999) had observed that further studies were needed on the Himalayan Component and that in the Peninsular Component massive water transfers were not needed.
- The claim that the project will be a net generator of large quantities of electric power needs very careful examination. Even if all the rivers linking proposal are implemented, the contribution that this will make to the mitigation of floods may not be
- The river linking project, if implemented, will take water only to a small part of the arid or drought prone areas, large parts of such areas will remain unserved and will have to meet their requirement through the local augmentation of water availability.
In arid or drought prone areas, the transported water made lead to the introduction of irrigated agriculture of a kind more appropriate to wet areas.
- Apart from its inevitable social and human impacts, the project is potentially fraught with serious environmental and ecological consequences that need to be studied and evaluated carefully.
- The announcement of a decision on a Mega Project in advance of the prescribed processes of preparation, examination, evaluation and clearance for each of the twenty or thirty projects included in it may reduce those processes to a mere formality. The feasibility
studies of proposed links should be put into the public domain for people of diverse disciplines and concerns outside the Government to examine and offer their comments.
- Intra basin disputes need to be tackled through the better, more economical and more cooperative management of the basin, rather than through imports of water from another basin. The project has already led to strong objections from several states and several
new inter-state conflicts may arise because of the project.
- If no transfers from the Ganga are envisaged, the Government should make clear to all as there is much expectation in the southern states of waters from the north. The huge costs involved in the linking of rivers and long distance water transfers will
make the water at the receiving and very costly.
- The Government, after examination of the issues as pointed out above, may explain the position suitably to the Supreme Court.
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