Five River Linking Projects Announced in Union Budget

Prelims level : Rivers Mains level : GS-I Important Geophysical Phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic Activity, Cyclone etc., Geographical Features and their location - changes in Critical Geographical features (including water bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.
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Why in News?

  • Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has proposed a project to link five rivers in India in her Budget Speech.

About the News:

  • Five identified rivers are Godavari-Krishna, Krishna-Pennar and Pennar-Cauvery, Damanganga-Pinjal and Par-Tapi-Narmada.

About the Identified Rivers:

  • Krishna, the fourth largest river in India, originates in Mahabaleshwar in Maharashtra and flows through Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
  • Cauvery originates in Kodagu and flows through Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
  • Penna originates in Chikkaballapura and flows through Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.
  • Godavari which is the third largest river in India originates in Nashik and flows through Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Orissa.
  • The Damanganga-Pinjal river linking aims to divert surplus water from the Damanganga basin to provide domestic water for Mumbai city.
  • The Par-Tapi-Narmada project proposes to provide water to doubt-prone regions of Kutch and Saurashtra by diverting excess water from seven reservoirs in the Western Ghats in North Maharashtra and south Gujarat.

Constitutional Provisions Involved:

  • Article 262(1) of the constitution deals with the adjudication of interstate water disputes.
  • Article 262(2) holds that neither Supreme Court nor any other court shall exercise jurisdiction in respect of interstate water disputes.
  • Water being a state subject requires a mutual water sharing arrangement between two riparian states.

What are the Benefits of Interlinking?

  • Enhances Water and Food Security.
  • Proper Utilisation of water.
  • Boost to Agriculture.
  • Disaster Mitigation.
  • Boost to Transportation.

Issues and Concerns:

  • Interlinking of rivers is a very expensive proposal. It will adversely affect land, forests, biodiversity, rivers and the Livelihood of Millions of People.
  • Interlinking of rivers will lead to Destruction of forests, wetlands and local water bodies, which are major Groundwater Recharge Mechanisms.
  • It causes massive Displacement of people. Huge burden on the government to deal with the issue of rehabilitation of displaced people.
  • Due to interlinking of rivers, there will be decrease in the amount of fresh water entering seas and this will cause a serious threat to the Marine Life.
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