Monday, October 05, 2009

Importance of river linking project highlighted by recent floods

I'm not a civil engineer or someone with years of construction experience. What I'm suggesting here is common sense. India has a history of rampant droughts in regions mixed with heavy floods in other regions (most recently in AP and Karnataka) sometimes both concurrently.
Wikipedia says,
Flooding may result from the volume of water within a body of water, such as a river or lake, which overflows or breaks levees, with the result that some of the water escapes its normal boundaries

Simple physics states that dams and river paths are constructed to handle a certain volume of water. After a certain rise in volume, these become a non factor in control and the water overflows lead to inundation of land and cause all kinds of havoc to the low lying areas. This is where the river linking project comes into picture. This was highlighted by several engineers in the past only to be given priority by State and Central Govts. looking at narrow political reasoning. The NDA government took it up as an election plank but was not able to make a realistic implementation. The river linking project links the major rivers in India to ensure that surplus water is not wasted, floods can be minimized and droughts can be prevented. This is vitally important given that with the population growth of India there is a projected shortfall of water resources within the next decade or so which could reach calamity levels according to some experts. There have been the usual "expert" trashing the concept of river linking claiming the usual bogeys of environmental impacts. Perhaps value of human life is not as important to them when they are unable to provide any real alternative.
I'm open to your thoughts on this issue.


Xinhua Ram said...

Not sure about this but some non-perennial (don't know the correct word) rivers, which help during floods have been blocked for commercial explitation. This makes the havoc from floods more intense.

Check these:

Dams once engineering marvels 100 years ago being decommissioned

Rahul Gandhi today found an unusual ally in VHP leader Ashok Singhal on the issue of interlinking of rivers when the latter agreed with his views. "River interlinking is a dangerous project," Singhal told reporters here, adding VHP had been protesting against the project in the past too.

CodeNameV said...

I hear from my colleague Manivannan that in his hometown Salem, there is water scarcity. On the one side, we have water scarcity and low ground water levels and on the other, we have rampant floods! Fools like Laluu ji and Mulayam ji would like to oppose the whole project and say "mein ek boond paani bhi nahin doonga!" but the benefits of connecting these rivers is huge!

Of course, our very own Medha Patkar and Arundhati Suzzane Roy would like to start a campaign straight off protesting about even discussing this project at a higher level but Narendra Modi has proved by example that river water linking and flood water harvesting has benefits, very huge benefits!

What we need is a top level leadership which does rather than talk things! I still remember the time when Vajpayee ji deliberately made this project a topic of national discussion. However, not one state CM accepted his proposal! Though they spelled some fake reasons, the message was something like "Let Vidarbha have a drought. Let Bihar have floods! I wont let you score any points with the public that you intend to do some good! I wont do good, I wont let you do good! Let people die. I dont care!"

When my uncle visited India in 1994 on vacation after working for four years in US, he spoke about thing he learnt about US. One was how US fought the recession in 1933 and 1970. He said, they seem to always have brilliant ways of coming out of recessions. Once they said, "build dams!" On another occassion, they said "build roads! small large, wide, narrow, doenst matter! Build Roads!" When I first watched the programme "how Hoover Dam was built" on Discovery Channel, I was filled with awe! Engineering is the way to go was my first reaction!

Instead of being constructive, our attitude is distructive asking for distruction of Rama Sethu for some fake economic benefits! This sir is my country!

I, Me, Myself ! said...

Xinhua Ram - From when did this joker Rahul Gandhi start having opinions on matters like these? Maybe he didn't understand what he was being asked, and just split out some answers randomly. And this joker will decide whether to link rivers or not... what a pitiful state.

CodeNameV - Nice passionate argument :).

DD - I totally agree with you about the need for interlinking rivers, and thereby ensuring equitable distribution of available water. I took a look at the link you provided, and I couldn't agree more that this topic merits more serious discussion than what is happening now. Wouldn't it be really amazing to have water from Ganga help in overcoming the drought in Vidarbha? I mean, is it so difficult to envision such a possibility?

Like CodeNameV mentioned, we have enough bunch of jokers around to stall even discussions pertaining to this topic.

Many thinkers have also propounded this theory, that linking of rivers can help the country in the long term. We are limited in our ways to use these resources, and when people come up with new ideas to use them better, the cynics outnumber the optimists.

No project is ever perfect. No project can be built without some impact or the other to the environment. Large scale displacements without proper benefits to those affected is a serious anamoly that needs to be corrected. No one is denying these facts.

There are some dams that have caused more damage than they have done good, and vice versa too. But the refusal of the cynics to work with the government in coming up with acceptable solutions is what is stalling such visionary programs. They just confine themselves to protesting and not assisting in development.

And also, we have the stupid politicians to blame too ... who always think in terms of how much money they can make through tenders and contractors. As long as the likes of Rahul baba doesn't understand these basic points, this vision will just remain a dream.

- Sudhir

I, Me, Myself ! said...

A new accusation was levelled, not by opposition parties, but by ruling party folks in AP!

They are disappointed that the water from Srisailam resorvoir was not released at the right time, towards the Pothiredipadu project, which will divert more water towards the Rayalseema region.

Apparently, within an hour of the irrigation minister asking the gates to be opened, a "mysterious" politician ordered them to be shut!

I still don't have concrete information, but just look at the way these people play politics with existing resources.

- Sudhir

Aryan Culler said...

When the rhetoric has died down and the facts re-analysed it would be come to be seen that this is a case of massive mis-management by the respective govts.. The moronic Yeddi will go from declaring a drought in September in N. Karanataka move to being flooded in October. As for river-linking - why play with fire when you cannot accurately tell me what would happen in a particularly good monsoon ??