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Assam Against for River Linking

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Call for public debate on river linking
Ajit Patowary

 GUWAHATI, Feb 29 – The Supreme Court of India’s latest direction on implementation of the river interlinking project came as a rude shock to most of the people of the NE region. As, it caught them unawares after a long period of silence on the issue, said noted environmentalist Prof Dulal Chandra Goswami.
In order to help initiate informed public debate and dialogue on this major issue, the government should make the feasibility and other project-related reports available to the people so as to maintain transparency on the rivers of the Brahmaputra basin. Without the consent of the people of the region, the project should not be implemented, he said.

He also called for a fresh relook into this critical issue in the light of the final push given by the Apex Court.

Recounting, he said, several years back, the idea of interlinking the nation’s major rivers mooted by the Central Government had considerably exercised the public consciousness as well as the State administrations leading to serious discussions.

These exercises invariably reached the conclusion that inclusion of the Brahmaputra segment of the proposed project, including some of its tributaries, would not be in the interest of the State in particular and the NE region as a whole.

In the case of the Brahmaputra river, which is truly an international river of colossal size with two-third of its watershed lying outside the border of India, transfer of its waters may lead to complications in matters of sharing water with the basin partners.

It will be apt and proper for us to first fully explore the potential of using time-tested, well-regarded and environmentally more benign methods of water resources management such as integrated river basin management, which fit well into the newer paradigm of water development rather than embarking on a mammoth plan on ‘uncharted waters.’

“The stakes are too high and risks too great to call for any headlong plunge in a venture like the one above.

“In the background of its extremely high dynamism of the geophysical and the tectonic framework, potency of monsoon driven hydro-meteorological regime, mega biodiversity along with the equally diverse and delicate human matrix, construction of the network of canals, series of reservoir dams and bulk transfer of waters may lead to ecological disasters of unforeseen dimensions in the region,” warned Prof Goswami.

He added that many of such massive ventures have gone awry in different parts of the world leading to major ecological disasters. 


Source : Assam Tribune

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