People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
February 08, 2004
issue of river water linking is gaining prominence, and even the Supreme Court,
for reasons best known to it, is giving suo moto directions to the government of
India. What is the party's stand on this issue? Who actually stand to benefit
from the networking and who loses?
Sanjay Kumar, Hyderabad (through e-mail)
THROUGH the columns of People’s Democracy, we have on several occasions explained our position on this issue. (See the March 16 and June 8, 2003 issue of this paper.)
This is not a new idea mooted by this Vajpayee government. Similar proposals were in circulation for nearly four decades. Way back in 1974, the CPI(M) had pointed out the impracticability and non-feasibility of such a project. In fact, the CPI(M) had also pointed out a larger sinister design of the ruling classes in India to divert the attention of the people away from the basic issues concerning the provision of potable water and other elementary requirements which the bourgeois landlord state refuses to provide to the people. The linking of rivers is projected as the panacea for all problems.
Among other factors, it was pointed out that the rivers of the Indo-Gangetic plains and those of the Deccan plateau run through their courses at vastly different heights. Linking these rivers would mean lifting the waters of the northern rivers to heights through a gigantic structure that requires massive amounts of electric power. The cost would be stupendous, with no real matching benefits.
What is, however, feasible is to explore the possibilities to link certain rivers regionally. Even this would have to be studied scientifically and evaluated by experts.
The Vajpayee government, however, is using this issue more for its propaganda (for example, Ganga waters will now flow in the Rajasthan deserts, etc) rather than achieving anything tangible or substantial.