SkyscraperCity banner

1 - 20 of 32 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
116 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Indian Rivers Inter-links Project Threads

The Indian Rivers Inter-link is a large-scale civil engineering project that aims to join the majority of India's rivers by canals and so reduce persistent water shortages in parts of India.



The project
The Inter-link would consist of two parts,
1) Northern Himalayan River Development component
2) Southern Peninsular River Development component

Himalayan development
The northern component would consist of a series of dams built along the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers in India, Nepal and Bhutan for the purposes of storage. Canals would be built to transfer surplus water from the eastern tributaries of the Ganges to the west. The Brahmaputra and its tributaries would be linked with the Ganges and the Ganges with the Mahanadi river. This part of the project would provide additional irrigation for about 220,000 square kilometres and generate about 30 gigawatts of electricity. In theory it would provide extra flood control in the Ganges and Brahmaputra river basins. It could also provide excess water for the controversial Farakka Barrage which could be used to flush out the silt at the port of Calcutta.


Peninsular development
The main part of the project would send water from the eastern part of India to the south and west. The southern development project would consist of four main parts. First, the Mahanadi, Godavari. Krishna and Cauvery rivers would all be linked by canals. Extra water storage dams would be built along the course of these rivers. The purpose of this would be to transfer surplus water from the Mahanadi and Godavari rivers to the south of India. Second, those rivers that flow west to the north of Mumbai and the south of Tapi would be linked. Due to the irregular fluctuations in water levels in the region, as much storage capacity would be built as possible. The water would be used by the urban areas of Bombay and also to provide irrigation in the coastal areas of Maharashtra. Third the Ken and Chambal rivers would be linked in order to provide better water facilities for Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. Finally a number of west-flowing rivers along the Western Ghats simply discharge into the Arabian Sea. As many of these as possible would be diverted for irrigation purposes. The Peninsular part of the project would provide additional irrigation to 130,000 square kilometres and generation an additional 4 gigawatts of power.

Source:
http://nwda.gov.in/index.asp?langid=1
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
116 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
A project that has run dry in Bundelkhand

:bash:
The much-hyped but controversial Ken-Betwa river interlinking project no longer generates interest in the drought-prone Bundelkhand. It has been a good long decade since the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) sold it as its pet project that would change the face of India. Now, no one even talks about it.

The first river interlinking project in the country, for which a memorandum of understanding was signed, proposed inter-linking of Ken and Betwa rivers by diversion of water from the Ken basin to the Betwa basin through a 231.45-km concrete-lined canal.

“The people of the region did not even understand why inter-linking was needed in the first place because Ken does not have excess water,” Krishna Gandhi of Abhiruchi, a non-governmental organisation related to environmental issues, told The Hindu.

An agreement on water sharing for the region was signed between the two States way back in 1972. Had the two States implemented it efficiently, the problem of water shortage could have been addressed, he said.

The Ken-Betwa Link Project envisages a 73.80 m high Daudhan dam across the Ken, about 2.5 km upstream of existing Gangau Weir on the border of Chhattarpur-Panna districts in Madhya Pradesh. Two powerhouses, one at the foot of the dam and other at the end of a 2-km tunnel, are also proposed to generate power.

The project was expected to irrigate 4.97 lakh hectares in the Chhattarpur, Tikamgarh, Panna, Raisen and Vidisha districts of Madhya Pradesh and Hamirpur and Jhansi districts of Uttar Pradesh.

While a memorandum of understanding was signed among the Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Central governments in 2005, the project was subsequently put on the backburner by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government following resistance from various quarters.

The Ministry of Environment and Forests had made it clear that no environmental clearance would be granted to the project as it would submerge a large area of the Panna Tiger Reserve.

Describing it as a “stupid, silly” solution to the problem, Professor Gandhi said big dams never helped people. They only promoted corruption and resulted in displacement of people, he said while suggesting investing in small check dams and water harvesting projects in the entire Bundelkhand region that would also help in ground water recharging.

Indifferent

If the opponents came up with convincing arguments against the project, the people of the villages that were expected to be benefited from the project were simply indifferent. “Yes, we had heard many years ago that there would be water to irrigate our field but unless it actually happens, how can we say,” said a farmer on the outskirts of Jhansi. But, there has been no progress on it, so it is as good as dead, he added. Another farmer in the nearby field gave a blank look.

The UPA government is thinking in terms of reviving the Ken-Betwa project in the 12th Plan.

“Tikamgarh had a large irrigation system during the Chandela rule which is functional even now and comprises small tanks which function as water storage facilities. There are reports of overexploitation but if the government ensures minimum water storage level, the system can once again be made efficient,” Professor Gandhi explained. Instead of constructing dams, excess water from rivers should be channelled to fill small tanks, he suggests.

Water resource management was the main component of the special package for Bundelkhand announced by the UPA in 2009 for the development of the region, following the visits of Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi.

Source:
http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article2889651.ece
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
116 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Supreme Court seeks report on interlinking of rivers

The Supreme Court on Monday wanted to know about the work done by the Centre on the project for interlinking of rivers and asked the amicus curie to file a short note on it. :bash:

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia, asked advocate Ranjit Kumar, who is assisting the court, to file the report within a week.

Earlier, the apex court had said that it would not favour interlinking of rivers if it causes huge a financial burden on the Centre and asked for a report on its costs.

“My concern is only with what is the financial liability of the project. We want to make it clear that we would not pass order on it if it causes huge financial burden,” the bench had said.

The river interlinking project was the brainchild of the NDA government and in October 2002, the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had formed a task force to get the project going against the backdrop of the acute drought that year.

The task force had submitted a report recommending division of the project into two —— the Peninsular component and the Himalayan component.

The Peninsular component —— involving the rivers in southern India —— envisaged developing a ‘Southern Water Grid’ with 16 linkages. This component included diversion of the surplus waters of the Mahanadi and Godavari to the Pennar, Krishna, Vaigai and Cauvery.

The task force had also mooted the diversion of the west-flowing rivers of Kerala and Karnataka to the east, the interlinking of small rivers that flow along the west coast, south of Tapi and north of Mumbai and interlinking of the southern tributaries of the river Yamuna.

The Himalayan component envisaged building storage reservoirs on the Ganga and the Brahmaputra and their main tributaries both in India and Nepal in order to conserve the waters during the monsoon for irrigation and generation of hydro-power, besides checking floods.

Source:
http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article2787996.ece
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
116 Posts
Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Set up special panel on linking of rivers forthwith, Supreme Court tells Centre

:bash:

The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Centre to constitute a ‘special committee' forthwith for inter-linking of rivers for the benefit of the entire nation.

A Bench of Chief Justice S.J. Kapadia and Justices A.K. Patnaik and Swatanter Kumar, in its judgment in a 2002 case relating to networking of rivers, said the committee should submit a bi-annual report to the Union Cabinet, which must consider the report and take decisions.

Writing the judgment, Justice Kumar said: “As pointed out in the report by NCAER and by the Standing Committee, the delay has adversely affected the financial benefits that could have accrued to the concerned parties and the people at large, and is in fact now putting a financial strain on all concerned.”

The Bench said: “This is a matter of national benefit and progress. We see no reason why any State should lag behind in contributing its bit to bringing the inter-linking river programme to a success, thus saving the people living in drought-prone zones from hunger and people living in flood-prone areas from the destruction caused by floods.”

It said: “The NCAER report clearly opines that the interlinking of river projects will prove fruitful for the nation as a whole and would serve a greater purpose by allowing higher returns from the agricultural sector for the benefit of the entire economy. This would also result in providing varied benefits like control of floods, providing water to [the] drought-prone States, providing water to a larger part of agricultural land and even power generation. Besides … benefits to the country, it will help the countries like Nepal etc., uplifting India's international role. Importantly, they also point to a very important facet of interlinking of rivers, i.e., it may result in reduction of some diseases due to the supply of safe drinking water, and thus serve a greater purpose for humanity.”

Source:
http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article2937800.ece
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
116 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
River-link: court wants time frame for guidelines

The exercise will give an impetus to farming and economy

The Supreme Court, which directed the Centre on Monday to constitute a ‘special committee' for inter-linking of rivers, said there was unanimity among the authorities concerned on the exercise.

A Bench of Chief Justice S.J. Kapadia and Justices A.K. Patnaik and Swatanter Kumar, said: “It is clear that primarily there is unanimity among all authorities concerned, including the Centre and a majority of the State governments — with the exception of one or two — that implementation of river- linking will be very beneficial. In fact, the expert opinions convincingly dispel all other impressions. There shall be greater growth in the agricultural and allied sectors, prosperity and stimulus to the economy, potentially causing [an] increase in per capita income, in addition to the short- and long-term benefits…”:bash:

The Bench said that if the expert recommendations were implemented properly and within a time frame, there would hardly be any financial strain on the economy. “On the contrary, such implementation would help in the advancement of India's GDP and bring greater wealth and prosperity to the nation as a whole. We have no hesitation in observing that the national interest must take precedence over the interests of individual States. The State governments are expected to view national problems with a greater objectivity, rationality and a spirit of service to the nation, and ill-founded objections may result in greater harm, not only to the neighbouring States but also to the nation at large.”

The Bench therefore directed the committee to take firm steps and fix a definite time frame for laying down the guidelines for completion of feasibility or other reports and to ensure completion of projects, so that the benefits could be obtained in a reasonable time and cost.

The court directed the Central and State governments to participate in the programme and render all financial, administrative and executive help for completing these projects effectively. “It is evident from the record that the reports submitted by the [earlier] task force have not been acted upon. Thus, the entire effort put in by the task force has practically been of no use to the governments concerned, much less to the public. The task force has now been wound up. Let the reports of the task force also be placed before the committee which shall, without fail, take due note of the suggestions made therein and take decisions on how the same are to be implemented for the benefit of the public at large.”

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article2939672.ece
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
116 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Interlink Rivers: SC asks centre to form panel to tackle drought, flood

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has asked the government to implement the ambitious interlinking of the rivers project in a time-bound manner to tackle drought and flood in various parts of the country. The court also appointed a high-powered committee for planning and implementation of the project. :banana:

A bench comprising Chief Justice SH Kapadia, Justice AK Patnaik and Justice Swatanter Kumar on Monday said the Centre and concerned state governments should participate for the effective implementation of the project "in a time bound manner".

"We direct the Union of India to forthwith constitute a committee for interlinking of rivers", the bench said in its judgement. "The committee shall plan for implementation of the project," the bench said, adding the delay has already resulted in an increase in the cost of the project.

It appointed a high-powered committee, comprising representatives of various government departments, ministries, experts and social activists to chart out and execute the project.

The committee will comprise the water resources minister, secretary, environment secretary and four expert members appointed by the water resources ministry, finance ministry, Planning Commission and environment ministry.

Representatives from state governments, two social activists and senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, who has been assisting the court in the case, will also be members of the committee. The river interlinking project was the brainchild of the NDA government and in October 2002, the then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had formed a task force to get the project going against the backdrop of the acute drought that year.




A Centre-appointed task force had in a report recommended division of the project into Peninsular and Himalayan components. The Peninsular component, involving the rivers in southern India, envisaged developing a 'Southern Water Grid' with 16 linkages.

This component included diversion of the surplus waters of the Mahanadi and Godavari to the Pennar, Krishna, Vaigai and Cauvery. The task force had also mooted the diversion of west-flowing rivers of Kerala and Karnataka to the east, the interlinking of small rivers that flow along the west coast, south of Tapi and north of Mumbai and interlinking of the southern tributaries of Yamuna.

The Himalayan component envisaged building storage reservoirs on the Ganga and the Brahmaputra and their main tributaries both in India and Nepal to conserve water during monsoon for irrigation and generation of hydropower, besides checking floods.

The task force had identified 14 links including Kosi-Ghagra, Kosi-Mech, Ghagra-Yamuna, Gandak-Ganga, Yamuna-Rajasthan, Rajasthan-Sabarmati, Sarda-Yamuna, Farakka- Sunderbans, Brahmaputra-Ganga, Subernarekha-Mahanadi, and Ganga-Damodar-Subernarekha.

The task force had also concluded that linking of rivers in the country would raise irrigation potential to 160 million hectares for all types of crops by 2050, compared to a maximum of about 140 million hectares that could be generated through conventional sources of irrigation.

The fate of the ambitiousRs5,00,000 crore project proposing linkages between major rivers by the year 2016 remained a virtual non-starter and the detailed project report was put in the cold storage

Source:
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics/nation/interlink-rivers-sc-asks-centre-to-form-panel-to-tackle-drought-flood/articleshow/12064334.cms
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,656 Posts
Cross post from Tunneling projects in India.

May not be Linking of Rivers, But diverting the river water within the state of drought prone areas.

Veligonda Project, Andhra Pradesh



Employment: Water
Geology: Quartzite, shale, phyllite
Tunnel Length: 18,800 m
Diameter: 7,960 mm

Machine Type: Double Shield TBM
Support Techniques: Segmental Lining
Cutterhead Power: 2,800 kW
Torque: 4,984 kNm

With a tunnel length of almost 19 kilometers, the Veligonda project near Hyderabad is one of the most challenging in India. The line of the tunnel passes through the “Rajeev Gandhi” nature reserve – well-known for its tigers. The aim of the project is to tap into the Srisailam dam with an underground tunnel, so that water can be diverted to drought-ridden areas when the dam threatens to burst its banks during the monsoon season.



A huge Herrenknecht Hard Rock Double Shield is currently at work on the project. The 2,800kW TBM is boring the 18.8 kilometer-long tunnel at depths of as much as 550 meters. On-site support for the project is being provided by Herrenknecht subsidiary, Underground Technology Service (UTS). Two full UTS crews are assisting the tunnelling operation in the first six months. Together with colleagues from the Herrenknecht project management teams, they monitored the assembly and start-up of the TBM and segment production plant, they are managing the cutter shop and handling spare parts supply on the site.







Veligonda Project-The Dream Project
Veligonda Project has been the dream project for the people of three districts. Prakasam, Nellore and Cuddapah. It has been under surveys for many years, yet no one has taken initiative to build and complete the project. The Veligonda Project plans to draw 43.5 tmc ft of flood waters of the Krishna river from the foreshore of the Srisailam Project and carry it through the 18.9 km-long tunnel to the Nallamalla Sagar Near the town of Markapur. The tunnels are being dug parellelly at a villaged called Kotturu, which lies 12 Kms away from Pedda Dornala Junction and about 42 Kms from the town of Markapur

Source: http://veligondaproject.blogspot.in/2009/06/veligonda-project-dream-project.html
http://www.achieversadda.com/2011/07/veligonda-project_13.html
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,656 Posts
Cross post from Tunneling projects in India.

May not be Linking of Rivers, But diverting the river water within the state of drought prone areas.

Alimineti Madhava Reddy Project, Andhra Pradesh

One of the largest tunnelling projects in the country is the Alimineti Madhava Reddy (AMR) project to bring water from the existing Srisailam Reservoir to the dry arid plains of the Nalgonda District of Andhra Pradesh. Central to the project is a 43.5km tunnel that is to be driven from each portal towards a mid-alignment junction by two 10m diameter double shield Robbins TBMs.



Under the largest ever single TBM order, signed in May 2006, project contractor Jaiprakash Associates Ltd, contracted Robbins to supply the two 10m diameter TBMs and all related equipment, including conveyors, spares and cutters, and teams of key personnel for the approximate five-year contract.

In March this year (2008), the project recorded a first major milestone with the cutterhead turning ceremony for the first of the two machines. Onsite assembly, rather than pre-assembly in a manufacturing facility, and as proven on previous projects, saved substantial time and money to the contract. Crews worked 24 hours a day to accomplish assembly within the aggressive four months schedule. The second Robbins machine will be assembled onsite later in 2008 and launched from the opposite end, at the inlet portal. After excavation, a drill+blast chamber will be used for removal of each TBM and back-up.

Both machines feature back-loading 20in cutters for longer cutter life through the zones of hard quartzite of up to 450 MPa in UCS, layered and separated with shale for about 50% the drive with the remainder passing through granite of 160 to 190 MPa. The double shield machines will erect a precast concrete segmental lining as they progress. The entire project is expected to take about 60 months to complete, and should be operational by December 2012.

The complete development of this project can be followed in below Thread Link:

http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=1124763



Shani Wallis, Editor

India’s need for the advantages of TBM excavation is immense. Not for the labour saving benefits but for the speed and quality of construction by which TBMs can excavate long tunnels for hydro, irrigation, road and rail tunnels. India’s history with large scale TBM tunnelling however is limited and disastrous. The sorry saga of TBM drives for the Dulhasti and Parbati hydro schemes is recalled with much frustration by Indian engineers. Resorting India’s appreciation and confidence in large scale TBM tunnelling is a tough assignment and one that Robbins has accepted in full measure, starting with the AMR project in the state of Andhra Pradesh where it is working with lead India construction company Jaiprakash to ensure success of the longest, largest diameter, hard rock TBM tunnel in India’s history and claimed by Robbins as the longest in the world without intermediate access points. TunnelTalk visited the project to bring this report.
“We are here to make sure this happens,” said John McNally, Project Manager on the AMR job site for The Robbins Company. “We have the first TBM now more than 1,900m into its drive from the downstream portal [early January 2008] and the twin TBM at the inlet portal is to start assembly in May.”

McNally is speaking of the 43.5km (27 mile), 10m (32.8ft) o.d. hard rock tunnel being excavated as the main element of an extensive network of tunnels and open canals on the Alimineti Madhava Reddy (AMR) Project that will feed irrigation and potable water by gravity to a vast drought-prone area of farmland and villages in the central state of Andhra Pradesh(1). The long tunnel has been under study for several decades and passes from the upstream Srisailem reservoir on the Krishn balancing pond near Devarakonda on the Dindi River (Fig 1).
The long straight tunnel under the maximum 500m cover is needed first to avoid any pumping in the gravity feed system, and secondly to protect the natural environment. The tunnel passes under the Nagarjuna Sagar Tiger Reserve, the largest sanctuary for Bengal Tigers in India.
The large contract of India Rupees 1,925 crores or about US $400 million includes several miles of open canal work as well as a second 7.25km long drill+blast tunnel on the alignment and is in the hands of Jaiprakash, one of the five largest commercial and construction conglomerates in India. Jaiprakash has extensive experience in civil construction and drill+blast tunnelling, but little in the field of TBM tunnelling. When planning its approach for the long, large diameter tunnel, with no intermediate adits permitted, a TBM operation was self-selecting, but Jaiprakash needed more than a TBM supplier; it needed a partner to bring expertise and technological knowhow.
Extensive negotiations with The Robbins Company culminated in the signing of the largest TBM supply order in history. At a total of more than $US125 million, Robbins has three project contracts; one to supply two 10m diameter double-shielded gripper TBMs, a continuous conveyor muck haulage system for both, plus spare parts and cutters from the US; another to supply backup structures and other components from local Indian suppliers through Robbins India; and a third to supply, through Robbins India, a team of key personnel to manage the TBM boring process.

More here:
http://www.tunneltalk.com/AMR-India-Project1.php
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,598 Posts
John -this is not river interlinking!! Duplication of these posts dont make sense - there is a dedicated and justified thread for these tunneling mega projects. Please stick to interlinking topics on this thread!
 

·
msg
Joined
·
7,838 Posts
Just for info

During rainy season both canal and gomti are flooded so rarely water is released from canal. In summers both are short of water
Canal originates at Nepal border can track on google earth.




 

·
Registered
Joined
·
625 Posts
When did Supreme court get the authority to decide what is the best way to handle drought/flood?

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has asked the government to implement the ambitious interlinking of the rivers project in a time-bound manner to tackle drought and flood in various parts of the country. The court also appointed a high-powered committee for planning and implementation of the project. :banana:

A bench comprising Chief Justice SH Kapadia, Justice AK Patnaik and Justice Swatanter Kumar on Monday said the Centre and concerned state governments should participate for the effective implementation of the project "in a time bound manner".

"We direct the Union of India to forthwith constitute a committee for interlinking of rivers", the bench said in its judgement. "The committee shall plan for implementation of the project," the bench said, adding the delay has already resulted in an increase in the cost of the project.

It appointed a high-powered committee, comprising representatives of various government departments, ministries, experts and social activists to chart out and execute the project.

The committee will comprise the water resources minister, secretary, environment secretary and four expert members appointed by the water resources ministry, finance ministry, Planning Commission and environment ministry.

Representatives from state governments, two social activists and senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, who has been assisting the court in the case, will also be members of the committee. The river interlinking project was the brainchild of the NDA government and in October 2002, the then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had formed a task force to get the project going against the backdrop of the acute drought that year.




A Centre-appointed task force had in a report recommended division of the project into Peninsular and Himalayan components. The Peninsular component, involving the rivers in southern India, envisaged developing a 'Southern Water Grid' with 16 linkages.

This component included diversion of the surplus waters of the Mahanadi and Godavari to the Pennar, Krishna, Vaigai and Cauvery. The task force had also mooted the diversion of west-flowing rivers of Kerala and Karnataka to the east, the interlinking of small rivers that flow along the west coast, south of Tapi and north of Mumbai and interlinking of the southern tributaries of Yamuna.

The Himalayan component envisaged building storage reservoirs on the Ganga and the Brahmaputra and their main tributaries both in India and Nepal to conserve water during monsoon for irrigation and generation of hydropower, besides checking floods.

The task force had identified 14 links including Kosi-Ghagra, Kosi-Mech, Ghagra-Yamuna, Gandak-Ganga, Yamuna-Rajasthan, Rajasthan-Sabarmati, Sarda-Yamuna, Farakka- Sunderbans, Brahmaputra-Ganga, Subernarekha-Mahanadi, and Ganga-Damodar-Subernarekha.

The task force had also concluded that linking of rivers in the country would raise irrigation potential to 160 million hectares for all types of crops by 2050, compared to a maximum of about 140 million hectares that could be generated through conventional sources of irrigation.

The fate of the ambitiousRs5,00,000 crore project proposing linkages between major rivers by the year 2016 remained a virtual non-starter and the detailed project report was put in the cold storage

Source:
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics/nation/interlink-rivers-sc-asks-centre-to-form-panel-to-tackle-drought-flood/articleshow/12064334.cms
 

·
hazaron ke anna
Joined
·
9,023 Posts
A river sutra, without links

On February 27 while giving the go-ahead to the controversial project of inter-linking of rivers, the Supreme Court specifically mentioned the benefits — flood control and drought moderation As plans for inter-basin transfers of water across vast distances, from surplus to deficit areas, appear to have got a lot of attraction for a country exposed all too often to droughts and floods, these need to be seriously evaluated and debated. As such while large-scale transfers of water can be expensive, we should also explore whether there are cheaper and better alternatives.

The idea of inter-basin transfers is based on the assumption that certain surplus (flood-prone) and deficit (drought-prone) areas exist so that water is readily available without any objection to transfer from the former to the latter. But in practice, people in so-called surplus areas do not agree that they have spare water which can be transferred to other, faraway areas.

At a time when there are problems relating to the sharing of waters, transfer of water across distant areas can easily aggravate these tensions. This should be avoided.

Issue of climate change:
Any neat division between “deficit” and “surplus” areas becomes more of a problem in these times of climate change when erratic weather patterns are more frequently seen. Some time ago we had a curious situation when arid, deficit parts of western India (including Rajasthan) had excess rain and experienced floods while flood-prone parts of eastern India (including Assam) had drought-like conditions. If billions had already been spent to create an infra-structure from transferring surplus water from east to west, just imagine what a difficult situation would have arisen at the time of such erratic weather.

So the basic conditions of problem-free transfer of water from the country’s “surplus” to “deficit” areas simply do not exist. The tensions are likely to be much greater when inter-basin transfers also involve neighbouring countries, a reality that cannot be avoided in the existing geography of national-level links as many rivers pass through other countries.

As soon as the grand looking river-linking plans are transferred from paper to reality, we enter the real world of shifting rivers bringing enormous siltloads, landslides, hills, plateaus, seismic belts, gorges, ravines, bends and curves which make the task of large-scale transfer of water difficult, enormously expensive, energy-intensive and hazardous.

If rivers had been created by engineers and not by nature, they would have flowed along predictable straight paths to suit our needs. But rivers do not generally like to abide by the wishes and commands of engineers. Even when the might of modern technology forces them to do so, they sometimes seek revenge in very destructive ways — breaking free and causing floods.
Of course no one has had the time and inclination to explore how the bio-diversity flourishing in a particular river system will react when it is linked to another river. But the problems faced by the vast majority who are adversely affected by dams and displacements of this gigantic river-linking project have to be faced surely and squarely.

This brings us to the question of whether safer, less disruptive and cheaper alternatives are available for reducing the distress of floods and droughts. Evidence suggests that even villages which experience very low rainfall, as in the desert areas of Rajasthan, have evolved a range of local methods of water conservation and collection which, if followed up carefully, take them towards water self-sufficiency to a large extent. It is true that in modern times there is pressure leading to the breakdown or inadequacy of some of these self-reliant systems.

Nevertheless it can be said that a combination of traditional water-collection/conservation practices and other drought-proofing methods — which also use modern technology — still provides the best available answer (also the cheapest one) to water scarcity in drought-prone areas.

In the case of flood-prone areas we should not ignore the resilience of local communities where people learnt from early childhood how to cope with rising rivers. Their ability has been adversely affected by increasing drainage obstruction created by thoughtless “development” works because of which floods sometimes become more fierce, creating prolonged water logging. So what people really need is a good drainage plan — so that flood water clears quickly — combined with a package of livelihood, health, education and other support suited to the needs of flood-prone areas and communities.

This will work out much cheaper and more effective than all the dams, diversions and embankments put together. So the question of what people of drought-prone areas and flood-prone areas really need should be taken in consultation with them. Do they want huge water diversions and transfers with all their dams and displacements, or do they prefer more funds for trusted, small-scale local solutions?

(The writer is a freelance journalist writing on development issues.)
Nagaland Post
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
116 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Experts agree that the economic and environmental costs of interlinking India's rivers far outweigh its projected benefits


Experts agree that the economic and environmental costs of interlinking India's rivers far outweigh its projected benefits.


At Amora village in Barpeta district of Assam, when the Brahmaputra flooded in 2009. Proponents of the river-linking project believe it can prevent floods.

Some people believe it is the one-stop solution to prevent floods and droughts, reduce water scarcity, raise irrigation potential and increase foodgrain production in the country. But others say it is just another grandiose scheme involving huge costs and leading to long-term ecological consequences. The contentious idea of interlinking India's rivers has come to the fore again with the Supreme Court's directive on February 27 to the Central government to set up a special committee for its implementation. The National Water Development Agency (NWDA), the nodal agency responsible for inter-basin transfer of river waters, has identified 14 river links in a northern Himalayan river development component and 16 in a southern peninsular river development component even as a lot of experts have raised doubts about the feasibility of the projects.

According to the NWDA, the population of India, which is around 1,200 million at present, is expected to increase to 1,500 to 1,800 million in the year 2050, and that means the requirement of foodgrains will go up to about 450 million tonnes. To meet this requirement, the agency estimates that it will be necessary to raise the irrigation potential in the country to 160 million hectares for all crops by 2050. India's maximum irrigation potential through conventional sources is about 140 million hectares.

Besides, floods are a recurring feature, particularly in the Brahmaputra and the Ganga, affecting the States of Assam, Bihar, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh. Almost 60 per cent of the river flows of the country occur in these rivers. On the other extreme are large areas in the States of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu that face recurring droughts. As much as 85 per cent of the drought-prone area in the country falls in these States. Inter-basin water transfer aims to transfer water from the surplus rivers to the deficit areas. The Brahmaputra and the Ganga, particularly their northern tributaries, and the Mahanadi, the Godavari and the west-flowing rivers originating in the Western Ghats are said to be surplus in water resources. The NWDA's ambitious plan is to build storage reservoirs on these rivers and connect them to other parts of the country. This, it believes, will reduce regional imbalances. Other benefits of the project spoken about are additional irrigation, domestic and industrial water supply, hydropower generation and navigational facilities.

It is in this context that the Supreme Court's judgment delivered by a three-judge Bench in the case In Re: Networking of Rivers in favour of interlinking rivers as a priority has to be seen. It has raised the hopes of people living in drought- and flood-prone areas. However, critics of the project warn that there is no consensus among the States to link rivers and that it will be a huge waste to spend precious resources on a project whose feasibility and benefits have not been studied thoroughly.

The judgment
Delivered by Justice Swatanter Kumar, on behalf of himself, Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia and Justice A.K. Patnaik, the judgment is unusual by all standards. It has directed the Central government, particularly the Ministry of Water Resources (MWR), to constitute forthwith a committee to be called “Special Committee for Inter-linking of Rivers”, comprising Ministers for Water Resources or Irrigation at the Centre and in the concurring States, bureaucrats, experts drawn from relevant Ministries and the Planning Commission, social activists, and the amicus curiae in the case, Ranjit Kumar.

The Bench has also laid down the nitty-gritty of how this committee should function: that it should meet once in two months, maintain records of its meetings, not adjourn the meetings because of the absence of any member, constitute subcommittees, and submit bi-annual reports to the Cabinet of the Central government. The Cabinet shall take all final and appropriate decisions in the interest of the countries (emphasis added, throughout) as expeditiously as possible, preferably within 30 days, the Bench has said. To many, this sounded like a clear case of judicial overreach, one setting a wrong precedent of the judiciary entering the executive domain. But to the court, these directions had a single purpose: going ahead with the interlinking of rivers (ILR) programme (ILR).

Lastly, the court has granted liberty to the amicus curiae to file a contempt petition in the Supreme Court in the event of default or non-compliance of the directions contained in the order. The Bench has also issued a mandamus to the Central and State governments concerned to comply with the directions contained in the judgment effectively and expeditiously and without default.

The judgment left many stakeholders bewildered and worried. The noble intentions of the Bench and the amicus curiae were never in question, though.

The case
The case has its genesis in an Independence Day speech delivered by President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam in 2002. It went thus:

“…It is paradoxical to see floods in one part of the country while some other parts face drought. This drought-flood phenomenon is a recurring feature. The need of the hour is to have a water mission which will enable availability of water to the fields, villages, towns and industries throughout the year even while maintaining environmental purity. One major part of the water mission would be networking of our rivers. Technological and project management capabilities of our country can rise to the occasion and make this river networking a reality with long-term planning and proper investment.”

Incidentally, Kalam was not the first person to propose such a project. A few experts had done so earlier and given up for various reasons. But the fact that the President referred to this in his speech was a good enough reason for the court to intervene in the matter when Ranjit Kumar brought this to the court's notice in the form of an application in an ongoing case.

In his application, Ranjit Kumar made a few additional claims about the benefits of ILR. He claimed that it would solve inter-State water disputes, ensure cheaper and safer form of transportation of goods, stop soil erosion, recharge groundwater, improve the quality of water and the environment, help promote tourism and earn foreign exchange, and improve employment potential.

Ranjit Kumar's application so convinced the court that it decided to convert his application into a separate writ petition. Somewhere down the line, however, it was clear that the court was not looking at findings that would suggest that the networking of rivers was not a feasible concept.

A few instances amply bear this out. In his application, Ranjit Kumar referred to a K.L. Rao Committee report submitted in the early 1960s (the correct year of the report is 1972), which had made references to the networking of rivers and which was subsequently spoken of by the Central Ground Water Board and agriculture economists.

After the court issued notices to the Centre and the governments of all the 28 States and the National Capital Territory of Delhi, the Central government claimed in its affidavit filed before the Supreme Court that the networking of rivers had been considered with great seriousness even after the 1972 K.L. Rao Committee report. But both Ranjit Kumar's application and the Centre's affidavit were silent on why the committee report has been buried quietly.

The NWDA's website itself shows why this and a later proposal, by Captain D.J. Dastur, were not feasible. About the “Earlier Proposals”, the NWDA's website says as follows:

“K.L. Rao's proposal (1972), which had 2,640 km-long Ganga-Cauvery link as its main component, involved large-scale pumping over a head of 550 metres. The power requirement for lifting the water was huge, estimated to be 5,000 to 7,000 MW, for irrigating an additional area of 4 million hectares only. The scheme was also not having any flood control benefit. Dr Rao had estimated this proposal to cost about Rs.12,500 crore, which at 2002 price level comes to about Rs.1,50,000 crore. The Central Water Commission, which examined the proposal, found it to be grossly underestimated and economically prohibitive.

“Capt. Dastur Proposal (1977) envisaged construction of two canals – the first, 4,200 km-Himalayan Canal at the foot of Himalayan slopes running from the Ravi in the west to the Brahmaputra and beyond in the east, and the second, 9,300 km-Garland Canal covering the central and southern parts, with both the canals integrated with numerous lakes and interconnected with pipelines at two points, Delhi and Patna. The cost estimated by Capt. Dastur was Rs.24,095 crore. The proposal was examined by two committees of experts comprising Senior Engineers from CWC [the Central Water Commission] , State governments, Professors from the IIT Delhi, and Roorkee University, and Scientists from Geological Survey of India and India Meteorological Department who opined that the proposal was technically infeasible. The cost estimated by the experts in 1979 was about Rs.12 million crore. The realistic cost at 2002 price level comes to about Rs.70 million crore.”

Omission of facts
The omission of any reference to these two historical facts from the court's record and the judgment may well be inadvertent, and their possible consideration by the court might not have significantly altered the judgment itself. But the point is that the court did not find it necessary to examine the question why successive governments at the Centre had not been serious about the networking of rivers. The fact that the history of earlier proposals was not considered by the court led to it reaching the conclusion that it saw no reason as to why the governments should not take appropriate and timely interest in the execution of the project.

Another instance of omission is the absence, in the judgment and also in the proceedings of the parties before the court, of any reference to a report of the National Commission for Integrated Water Resources Development (NCIWRD), which was submitted to the government in September 1999. The 14-member commission, headed by S.R. Hashim, then Member of the Planning Commission, was asked to suggest modalities for the transfer of surplus water to water-deficit basins by interlinking rivers.

In its report, the commission referred to a National Perspective brought out by the Ministry of Water Resources in 1980, which is also the basis for the Supreme Court's February 27 judgment. This Perspective has two main components: (a) Himalayan Rivers Development (HRD) and (b) Peninsular Rivers Development (PRD).

NOAH SEELAM/AFP

The dry bed of a river that usually irrigates the paddy fields of Raigiri village in Nalgonda district, Andhra Pradesh.

The HRD envisages the construction of storage reservoirs on the principal tributaries of the Ganga and the Brahmaputra in India and Nepal along with interlinking canal systems to transfer surplus flows of the eastern tributaries of the Ganga to the west, apart from the linking of the main Brahmaputra and its tributaries with the Ganga, and the Ganga with the Mahanadi. The PRD is divided into four major parts: interlinking of the Mahanadi, the Godavari, the Krishna and the Cauvery; interlinking of the west-flowing rivers north of Mumbai and south of Tapi; interlinking of the Ken and the Chambal; and diversion of other west-flowing rivers.

The commission did not study the Himalayan component because of the lack of data, which were classified. About the peninsular component links, the commission said:

“These links will involve stupendous engineering activity. They will have large-scale socio-economic, human and environmental impacts and will involve very high financial outlays…. There will be opposition from the local people, especially those who consider themselves deprived, and from environmental agencies and activists unless their legitimate concerns are looked into. Above all, there will be the human problem of displacement of people and their rehabilitation. There is [an] urgent need to develop a policy and programme of sustainable water resource development of each river in which inter-basin transfer, if found feasible, would be one possible component.”

NCIWRD report
The commission noted that in approaching this complex issue, it would not be possible to persuade a State to spare water until its own demands were met to the maximum possible extent. Contrast this with what the Supreme Court has said in its judgment:

“We have no hesitation in observing that the national interest must take precedence over the interest of the individual States. The State governments are expected to view national problems with greater objectivity, rationality and spirit of service to the nation, and ill-founded objections may result in greater harm, not only to the neighbouring States but also to the nation at large.”

The Bench saw no reason why any State should lag behind in contributing its bit to bring ILR to a success, thus saving the people living in drought-prone zones from hunger and people living in flood-prone areas from the destruction caused by floods.

The commission was clear that interlinking of rivers must be considered the last option. It said: “After meeting all these essential requirements, if there is surplus water available in the basin, its transfer to other basins may be considered. Such basins should first aim at efficient utilisation of all the in-basin resources.”

With regard to the Himalayan component, the commission cautioned thus: “Generally speaking, the idea is to transfer water from water-rich Brahmaputra and lower Ganga basins towards the west, finally conveying it to water-short southern U.P. [Uttar Pradesh], Haryana, Punjab, and to arid Rajasthan desert, as also perhaps to the peninsular component. The storages and links involved are of very large sizes and lengths; and the costs of construction and environmental problems would be enormous. These links should only be taken up if and when they are considered unavoidable in national interest. For Thar desert area, it would perhaps be desirable to promote arid zone low density tree cover as far as possible. The Indira Gandhi Nahar on the west and the Narmada canal on the south-east, together with practices of desert moisture conservation can perhaps achieve this limited objective. The need for further expansion of irrigation facilities in this area will have to be examined from all angles, including ecological and environmental considerations.”

On the basis of published information, the commission was of the view that the Himalayan component would require more detailed study using system analysis techniques. It felt that the actual implementation of the Himalayan component was unlikely to be undertaken in the decades in the immediate future. Therefore, it is incredible how both the Ministry of Water Resources and the Supreme Court found the implementation of the Himalayan component feasible within three years of the publication of the commission's report.

The commission added: “Studies of important east-flowing peninsular river basins, namely, Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna, Pennar, Cauvery and Vaigai, indicate that there is no imperative need for large-scale transfer of water. Reasonable projected water demands of these basins can be met from within the resources of the basins except for marginal shortages in Krishna, Cauvery and Vaigai, with the proposed enhanced irrigation intensities. However, limited transfer from Godavari towards Krishna, Cauvery and Vaigai would be desirable.”

It is also surprising how the February 27 judgment repeatedly claims a consensus among the States and the Centre over the merits of going ahead with ILR. Of the 28 States and Delhi, to whom it sent notices, only 10 had responded. They are Rajasthan, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Bihar, Punjab, Assam, Sikkim and Kerala.

The court, in fact, interpreted the silence of the States as consent to ILR.

On October 31, 2002, no State except Tamil Nadu had filed affidavits opposing the prayers in the petition, after notice had been issued to them on September 16, 2002, and response sought again on September 30, 2002.

The Central government, through the then Attorney General, stated that it had accepted the concept of interlinking of rivers and a high-powered task force would be formed. The court then recorded that there was a consensus among all the States to go ahead with the project of interlinking.

The NWDA has identified 30 links – 16 under the peninsular component and 14 under the Himalayan river development component – for the preparation of feasibility reports. It has so far completed the feasibility reports of 14 links under the peninsular component and two links under the Himalayan component.

In its counter-affidavit, the Centre had opposed the plea to form a high-powered committee on the grounds that the consent of all the States needed to be obtained. Reportedly, the Centre is disappointed with the February 27 judgment because the court has directed the constitution of an unwieldy committee comprising nearly 70 members. It is said to be planning to seek a review of the judgment.

Some reservations
Most States have expressed some reservation or the other about the project. According to the judgment, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu have supported the concept of ILR. But by the judgment's own admission, Rajasthan had refused to consider the memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the priority link, Parbati-Kalisindh-Chambal, until the updation of its hydrology project.

Gujarat had underlined the fact that water was a State subject and that the opinion of the respective States must be sought. It had deplored the fact that the NWDA had prepared the plan for interconnecting rivers without consulting the States.

Bihar had questioned whether the increase in agricultural production effected by the networking of the rivers would justify the cost of the project. It had also asked whether the supposedly “scarcity-affected” States had adequately used water-saving irrigation methods and whether their cropping patterns were indicative of the fact that water was a scarce commodity in the region. The State also insisted that the transfer of water must involve a quid pro quo.

Bihar had observed that floods were a temporal phenomenon and that it did not essentially mean that a particular place suffering from floods at a particular time was surplus in water resources on an annual basis. The overall scene on the national level could be ascertained only after detailed studies were made in this regard, it said. Madhya Pradesh left it to be decided by the Centre, as in its view, the interlinking of rivers was a Central subject.

Kerala stated that the consent of the State should be obtained in utilising the river waters within its territory for purposes elsewhere, in view of the constitutional provision bestowing control of State rivers on the States. Therefore, it opposed the writ petition.

The judgment itself admits that Karnataka, Bihar, Punjab, Assam and Sikkim have given a kind of “qualified approval” with definite reservations with regard to environmental and financial implications, and socio-economic and international aspects. However, in the same paragraph, the Bench reveals that Assam, Sikkim and Kerala have raised their protests on the grounds that they should have the exclusive right to use their water resources and that such transfer should not affect any rights of these States.

The judgment also refers to the fact that all the rivers in Bihar originate from Nepal and it may be necessary or desirable to take the consent of neighbouring countries. It is not clear whether the consent would be easy to obtain.

Studies required
Reliable water balance studies are important to determine whether a State or a basin has surplus water. Himanshu Thakkar, an expert member of the NWDA-constituted committee of environmentalists, social scientists and other experts on interlinking of rivers, points out that these studies are not available in the public domain, and even if available, they are not reliable.

The judgment observes that the National Water Policy, which seeks to make available water to those areas that face shortages, could be effective only if the rivers in the country are linked and nationalised. Thakkar, however, says that no participatory process was involved in the preparation of both the National Water Policy of 2002 and the draft policy of 2012. “Both are basically children of the pro-large project mindset of our water resources establishment, including the Ministry of Water Resources, the Central Water Commission and related organisations. They are also non-serious collection of statements of intent that are not backed by any credible plans or legal institutional set-ups,” he observes.

The amicus curiae, in his report to the court, estimated the new aggregated cost of the entire project at anything between Rs.4,44,331.20 crore and Rs.4,34,657 crore at 2003-04 prices. Is this expenditure justified, especially when there are divergent views about the benefits of ILR? The court entertains pious hopes to justify such a huge expenditure. It has relied mainly on a report of the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) to conclude that expert opinion convincingly dispels all other impressions. But the NCAER report makes no claim to having considered the social or environmental impact of the project or examined whether ILR is the least-cost option.

Hindu
 
1 - 20 of 32 Posts
Top