A goal without a plan is said to be a wish but if there is one thing in the world our prime minister is second to none at, is making plans for our motherland. May it be ‘The Gujarat Model’ which served as the foundation of the prime minister’s run for office in 2014 or may it be the ambitious ‘Make In India’ that captured attention worldwide, Narendra Modi has never fallen short of drawing attention of 1.25 Billion people. One such ambitious project is the National River Linking Project
Starting from the successful implementation of Demonetisation and GST, going to important yet ambitious plans like “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan” there lies another challenge that our worthy prime minister has taken upon his shoulders, namely the National River Linking Project, National River Linking Project (earlier known as National Perspective Plan.)
India is an agrarian country, and unfortunately, our farmers have to rely upon the unreliable monsoon. The National River Linking Project shifts focus from rain-fed agriculture to something more dependable.
The 5.5 Lakh Crore Rupee project aims to link more than 60 rivers throughout the country aiming to find common ground by transferring water from surplus water zones to drought-prone zones. This would not only decrease the monsoon upsets when it comes to the harvest but would also bring countless hectares of cultivable land under irrigation. Along with this, the project aims to generate 34 GW of power.
On the other hand, India already is caught up in numerous water conflicts. May it be sharing the Indus’ water with Pakistan, Teesta’s water with Bangladesh or the Ravi-Beas water dispute within the country. Will the National River Linking Project serve as yet another obstacle in India’s path forward or would it actually help the nation curb the uneven water distribution complication?
This was an idea of the colonial era which was brought to life first when Late president APJ Abdul Kalam mentioned it in one of his speeches which was then picked up by the BJP led NDA government under Atal Bihari Vajpayee but got lost soon enough in 2004 in the political mist when the UPA government came into power.
Furthermore, Ecologists and Environmentalists have marked the project as dangerous and believe that it would lead to a huge social and environmental calamity. Not only would it be putting almost 8% of the Panna national park in danger but it might also lead on to being a total disaster as more polluted rivers would be mixed with lesser polluted ones. Environmentalists believe that the government has ignored other viable options such as rainwater harvesting and decentralized watershed development.
So is this a desperate attempt of the prime minister to fulfil his promise of “ACHHE DIN?” or is it a well thought out plan to liberate the farmers from the brutal “Monsoon Ki Maar?” We’ll let time decide.