NGO comes up with alternative to interlinking of rivers

An NGO has come up with an "eco-friendly" method to connect the water bodies with grids so that states can share the resources according to their requirements.

New Delhi: Amid growing environmental concerns over the river linking project, an NGO has come up with an "eco-friendly" method to connect the water bodies with grids so that states can share the resources according to their requirements.
"Interlinking of Rivers project (ILR) is not viable in its present form. We have, therefore, come up with a new proposal - National Waterways Project (NWP)," said A C Kamaraj, expert committee member of ILR panel in the present governemnt and Nawad Tech Chairman.

Addressing a seminar `on Emerging Trends on National Waterways for Water Security and navigation of India`, Union Shipping Minister G K Vasan said there is a need to reduce over-dependence on road and rail transport by promoting coastal shipping and inland waterway system.

It is also noteworthy that the government has given prominence to Inland Waterway Transport in the 12th Five Year Plan through higher plan allocation, he said.

Kamraj said yesterday five cases were heard in the Supreme Court on water. All these disputes when we have water more than enough to meet all the requirements of all the people.

"We have developed a working model near Madurai to demonstrate the concept of two-way flow in zero slope canal. An expert team from Canada has visited the model which explains the principle of harvesting only flood water in a river basin, impounds it in the contour canal (Smart Waterway), transmits by differential head and distributes only when required," said V Ponraj, Advisor to former President A P J Abdul Kalam.

V K Gupta, organising secretary, claimed Bihar and Tamil Nadu have accpeted the proposal while Assam, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka "are discussing with us".

Ponraj said Canada and Netherlands have showed interest in the model as there is a minimum assurance of 15 per cent returns every year from the project. The project will also ensure irrigation to an additional 150 million hectares that will double food production to 500 million tonnes, he claimed.

Kamraj has suggested the formation of a `water grid` by linking all 17 rivers in Tamil Nadu.

"Formation of Tamil Nadu Smart Waterways System would directly generate around 1,800 MW and would improve the water table level, which would save another 1,300 MW," said Kamraj.

Unlike ILR where once water given to another state cannot be drawn back, under NWP there is no problem in sharing water as it is water grid and no state is a giver and every state is a receiver. It is a win-win situation for all, he claimed.

He said the National and state Waterways project could be completed in 10 and 5 years respectively.

Er K Manikandam, member of the engineer panel of the project, said river Godavari generates flood water to the tune of around 2,000 TMC. If properly tapped, the river could provide water to the delta region such as Tiruchi, Thanjavur and Nagapattinam where inflows were low from Cauvery.