Imperative of national water grid for India: S. Kalyanaram​an

DMK returns to waters to reap election benefit
DNA / Kumar Chellappan / Monday, March 21, 2011 0:10 ISTThe DMK manifesto for the April 13 election in Tamil Nadu has once again brought the issue of interlinking of rivers to the fore.
Releasing the manifesto on Saturday, DMK president and Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi demanded nationalisation and interlinking of major peninsular rivers spread across Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Orissa and Maharashtra.
The last time the issue had come up was in 2004. A common minimum programme drafted by a committee headed by Jairam Ramesh immediately after the 2004 Lok Sabha election had listed interlinking of peninsular rivers as a major agenda.
But after becoming Union minister for environment and forests in UPA-II, Ramesh ruled out such an interlinking, saying, “It will lead to environmental disaster.”
Interestingly, neither DMK nor its allies in the UPA pressured the Centre after 2004 to initiate steps to link rivers.
“Instead of taking it up now, he [Karunanidhi] should have talked to chief ministers of other states and convinced them of the project,” an alliance partner said.
AB Vajpayee’s NDA government had formed a task force in 2002 under Suresh Prabhu of Shiv Sena to draw up an action plan to link Brahmaputra, Ganga, Yamuna, Mahanadi, Godavari, Cauvery and Krishna to rid the nation of recurring floods and droughts.
Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council, a think tank of scientists and engineers headed by APJ Abdul Kalam, had advised the government to take up interlinking of rivers on a war footing. Kalam, who later became president of the nation, claimed that the Mumbai floods of 2005 would not have happened if rivers in the country had been linked through a network of canals.
“Our idea is to get floodwaters transferred to rivers facing severe shortage. This will ensure year-round availability of water in all rivers, which, in turn, will help increase the country’s agriculture production. A national river grid will also help generate at least 30,000 MW of clean and green energy,” S Kalyanaraman, chairman of Saraswathi Research Centre, a Chennai-based institute set up to study rivers, said.
URL of the article: http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_dmk-returns-to-waters-to-reap-election-benefit_1522334-all

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