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Panel did volte-face on river interlinking

Written By Krishna on Saturday, March 03, 2012 | 1:15 AM

The National Commission for Integrated Water Resource Development Plan (IWRDP) had in a policy recommendation categorically stated that the “Himalayan river linking project was not feasible for the period of review up to 2050”.

The IWRDP was set up by the ministry of water resources and provided a detailed brief on the southern rivers also stating that there was no need to rewrite geography of the peninsula rivers as there was “no imperative necessity for such massive water transfer”.

The drafting committee of the National Water Policy 2012 has in an amazing volte-face recommended that river interlinking would help ease the water problems in the country.

It was this recommendation which is reported to have provided inputs for the Supreme Court judgment on IRL given this Monday.

Academician S.R. Hashim has been chairman of both these bodies and activists question how he has agreed to lend his signature to such contrary viewpoints.
Gopal Krishna of ToxicsWatch Alliance, questions how Mr Hashim “can feign ignorance about the relevant recommendations of the two volume IWRDP report that was submitted in 1999”.

However, sources close to Hashim believe a chairman of both committees cannot be solely held responsible for what could be a majority viewpoint of the members.
Water expert Himanshu Thakkar pointed out that ministry of water resources needs to come clean on this confusion as it will affect the functioning of several ministries.
“The environment ministry has refused to give a green signal to the Ken-Betwa river linking because it would have resulted in the submergence of 4,600 hectres of the Panna Tiger Reserve.”

Rashme Sehgal
The Asian Age, Mar 02, 2012
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