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                      INTERLINKING OF RIVERS : Facts & Figures 

The idea of interlinking of rivers in India has repeatedly  been occurring to the Indian scientists and engineers in the past but has always met with rejection on account of technical unfeasibility or socio-economic issues.
        Four decades back, it was Mr. K.L. Rao, the then Union Minister for Irrigation and Power, who suggested a 2640-km long Ganga-Cauvery link by carrying waters partly by gravity and partly by lift but the costs were found highly prohibitive and the idea was rejected.This was followed by the Captain Dastur Plan, popularly known as Garland Scheme.Under this scheme, a 4200-km long Himalayan canal and a 9300-km long Garland canal were suggested, both to be linked by pipelines near Patna and Delhi. Again  the plan was found technically unfeasible  and laid to rest.
        Presently  the Ministry of Water Resources, Government of India, has come up with an elaborate plan of  linking various rivers to mitigate droughts & floods for maximum utilization of river water that is going waste into the sea.  Supreme Court has desired the study of feasibility of the scheme and there is a mixed response from different parts of the country.

            As per the newly proposed scheme, two components name Himalayan component and Peninsular component have been outlined. The Himalayan component proposes to have 14 canal links (see Table 1) while the Peninsular component has 16 links (see Table 2).  Under the Himalayan  component, many dams are planned to be constructed on the tributaries of Ganga and Brahmaputra in India, Nepal and Bhutan.  This component envisages linking of Brahmaputra and its tributaries with Ganga and Ganga with Mahanadi to transfer surplus flows of East to the West thus benefiting many states.  The proposed links may help in controlling floods in Ganga and Brahmaputra basins.

Sr. No.  

Links identified in Himalayan Component  




3. Gandak-Ganga  
4. Ghagra-Yamuna  
5. Sarda-Yamuna  
6. Yamuna-Rajasthan  
7. Rajasthan-Sabarmati  
8. Chunar-Sone barrage  
9. Sone dam-Southern tributaries of Ganga  
10. Brahmaputra-Ganga (Manas-Sankosh-Tista-Ganga)  
11. Brahmaputra-Ganga (Jogigopa-Tista-Farakka)  
12. Farakka-Sunderbans  
13. Farakka-Damodar-Subernrekha  
14. Subernrekha-Mahanadi  

Table 1

S.No. Links identified in Peninsular Component
1. Mahanadi (Manibhadra)-Godavari (Dowlaiswaram)
2.  Godavari (Inchampalli)-Krishna (Nagarjunasagar)
3. Godavari (Inchampalli Low dam)- Krishna (Nagarjuna Tail pond)
4. Godavari (Polavaram)-Krishna (Vijaywada)
5. Krishna (Almatti)-Pennar
6. Krishna (Srisailam)-Pennar (Prodattur)
7. Krishna (Nagarjunasagar)- Pennar(Somasila)
8. Pennar (Somasila)-Cauvery (Grand Anicut)
9. Cauvery (Kattaiai)-Vaigai-Gundar
10. Ken-Betwa-Link
11. Parbati-Kalisindh-Chambal
12. Par-Tapi-Narmada
13. Damanganga-Pinjal
14. Bedti-Varda
15. Netravati-Hemavati
16. Pamba-Achankovil-Vaippar
Table 2

            Under the Peninsular component, surplus waters of Mahanadi and Godavari rivers are proposed to be transferred to the deficit basins of Krishna, Pennar, Cauvery and Vaigai.  In the transfer of waters from Godavari to Krishna, a lift of 1200 cusecs of water over about 116m is essential.  In addition, water is proposed to be transferred from Ken River to Betwa river to benefit MP and AP and interlinking of Parbati, Kalisindh and Chambal rivers to benefit MP and Rajasthan.  Peninsular component aims at benefiting Orissa, Karnataka, Tamilnadu, Pondicherry, Maharashtra and Gujrat.

            Estimated cost of the whole scheme at 2002 price level has been worked out to be Rs. 5,60,000 crore & the proposed time period for the completion of the scheme is 35 years. The present status of implementation of the scheme is that the feasibility report of six links has been completed while that of 18 links is under progress. It is estimated that feasibility reports for peninsular component will be completed by 2004 while that of Himalayan component will be over by 2008.  
Source : Summarised from an article by Sh. Jagvir Goyal (The Tribune, March 13, 2003)


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