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Thread: River-linking: Why play with nature, asks Jairam

  1. #1
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    Default River-linking: Why play with nature, asks Jairam

    River-linking: Why play with nature, asks Jairam
    Source : Press Trust of India
    published on : 9/29/2010 8:28:39 AM

    Bangalore: The Centre on Tuesday virtually ruled out linking of national rivers given the ecological and human costs involved in the project.

    Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh pointed to the amount of land to be involved and the people displaced if one were to link the Brahmaputra river with a peninsular one, for example.

    "...then, who knows, why play with nature? he said here. "If we start linking rivers, how do we know how these rivers are going to behave? What about changing course of rivers? What about climate change that's going to happen? “

    While noting that (small) rivers were being linked from time immemorial and even on Tuesday on a small-scale, the "grandiose solutions" such as garland canal and linking of north-eastern rivers with peninsular ones did not find favour from him.

    Ramesh quipped: "Engineers must be read, not necessarily implemented". While linking of national rivers is a "very attractive concept", he said he has become more and more ambivalent about techno-fixations as he has grown older though he is a product of a technological institution and culture.

    "There are limits to techno-interventions. We tend to underestimate the human and ecological costs", he said. Ramesh also said Bangladesh, for example, is worried about river-linking contending that Ganga is an international river, adding, projecting linking of rivers as a "simplistic panacea" for dealing with drought is not correct.

    Full article at - http://www.orissatv.in/NewsDetail.asp?newsId=NS29049
    Regards,
    Mrudul Godbole

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    A sane voice on this issue at long last!

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    As human beings we tend to oversimplify things and land up in trouble. When one observes nature, one can realise that the maker has designed things with a purpose. It is after a lot of examinations, scientists are able to unravel part of it. I am not sure when we humans would be able to understand the complex web of relationships between various organisms. With such limited undertanding, when we try to force our designs on nature, the result is ofcourse dangerous.

    The reason for the water crisis in various parts of the country are due to our making. Despite India being a country where a huge number of people depend on agriculture, we have failed in planning. We have all but abandoned our traditional agricultural practices, including cropping patterns. Farmers in arid reason are encouraged to grow cash crops that require lot of water and is not suitable for those regions. The result is inevitable.

    The amount of water wasted in our cities is amazing. The amount charged for water supply in cities is a pittance. The Govt. cannot do any price hike as that would be seen as populist. Hence our people are least interested in plugging the leakages. Huge amount of water is wasted. Together with the uneven growth of cities, where the big becomes bigger, the population continues to increase and so is the demand on water.

    The traditional rain water harvesting structures like ponds etc are either turned into sewarage or dump yards or have been filled up to create space for residences for people. Hence the demand for water can only be fulfilled via canals or pipelines that bring water from faraway dams.

    And dams, the single most reason for the death of our rivers - despite siltation reducing their effectiveness in generating power and storing water - are continued to be favoured. Again, the bigger the better is the motto. That leads to not only frayed nerves and rising tempers but also full fledged water wars between neighbouring states.

    And there come a few individuals with hair brained ideas like river linking. Our riverine ecosystems are very less studied. The lower waterlevels due to diversion of water is going to impact several aquatic species and organisms. The complex relationship between those and the mega fauna is very less documented and understood. We are going to wipe out many such species even before they are studied, documented and perhaps will be extinct even before they are discovered.

    Rather than carry out such grandiose ideas as river linking, it is better to spend a fraction of that money in traditional waterharvesting structures as well as in increasing our efforts at plugging away the water wastage. That would be a lcheaper, easier and faster way of solving our water woes.

    Cheers,
    Sabyasachi

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    hats off to J RAmesh

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