Rivers Inter-Linking Project
New Delhi—Quoting huge cost factor, the Indian government has scrapped the ambitious project to inter-link major rivers, which was seen as a means to control frequent floods and droughts that ravage the country in different parts the country each year.

Federal Water Resources Minister P K Bansal told parliament that inter-linking Himalayan rivers with peninsular rivers that flow in the southern part of the country would require Indian Rupees 4,400 billion (USD $ 95,176 million), which was “beyond the capacity of the federal government”.

“Inter-linking Himalayan rivers with peninsular rivers is a huge task. It involves a massive expenditure of Rupees 4,400 billion and such kind of money is not available to us,” Bansal told lawmakers Wednesday.

But peninsular and Himalayan rivers would be linked separately, the minister said, though the projects would have a long gestation period.

Bansal said five projects of inter-linking peninsular rivers were on the government's priority list. It was “pursuing it in the right earnest after taking consent of the concerned state governments and environmental and rehabilitation issues”.

“At present only 5 of the 14 projects of inter-linking peninsular rivers are on the government's priority list. It will involve expenditure of USD $ 7 million and would take around 9-10 years for completion,”

Bansal's remark comes shortly after his cabinet colleague Environment and Forests Minister Jairam Ramesh had said that the idea of inter-linking India's rivers was a “disaster”.

“The interlinking of rivers will be a human-ecological-economic disaster. It is easy to do interlinking on paper. Interlinking of rivers has limited basin value, but large-scale interlinking would be a disaster,” Ramesh said.

India re-started the idea of inter-linking the Himalayan rivers with river waterways that flow in downstream peninsular India seriously after the country's Supreme Court had mandated the...