Centre to shelve river-linking project
NEW DELHI, Oct 5 — The UPA Government has decided to formally give a neat burial to the ambitious river-linking project, with Union Minister of State for Environment and Forest, Jairam Ramesh declaring that the project would be ‘human, ecological and economic disaster for the country’. The pronouncement comes on a day, when the Minister announced the decision to adopt river dolphins as national aquatic animal. The suggestion to adopt the River Dolphin, also better known as Gangetic Dolphins came from Chief Minister of Bihar, Nitish Kumar.
“The suggestion to adopt it as national aquatic animal came from Bihar Chief Minister and we accepted it,” Ramesh said, briefing newsmen about the outcome of the meeting of Ganga River Basin Authority that was chaired by the Prime Minister.
The Environment and Forest Minister said that one of the criteria for measuring the revival of River Ganga would be return of river dolphins. Some 2000 of them are left in the country, he added.
They were found in large numbers before a few years. But now their number has come down considerably due to various human activities like fishing, poaching, construction of Farakka barrage in Ganges, sand mining in Kulsi River and massive deforestation.
The river dolphins are included in the schedule 1 of Indian Wildlife Act 1972.
Ganga River currently has about 600 of dolphins, while in Brahmaputra River, its population has gone down to 240-300.
Meanwhile, Environment and Forest Minister, replying to questions about the fate of the river linking project, indicated that it is going to be shelved. The Project has national and international ramifications. Bangladesh has already gone to UN, he added.
This is not physically possible to link rivers, he said, adding that smaller inter-basin transfers, however, could go on.
One of the erstwhile NDA Government’s flagship projects, river-linking project did not find much favour with the current regime. “Interlinking of rivers was a revolutionary step initiated by the NDA government BJP MP Rajiv Pratap Rudy had s aid.
BJP-led NDA government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee had mooted the idea of interlinking of rivers to deal with the problem of drought and floods afflicting different parts of the country at the same time. The programme aims at equitable distribution of water throughout the country to solve issues of irrigation and drinking water as well, Rudy said.
Matters concerned with Environment
- ► 2010 (72)
- ▼ October (6)