Maneka Gandhi condemns river-linking project – PTI

India's river interlinking plan

Maneka Gandhi“There is no question of (linking rivers). There can be no scheme in the world as bad as this. Every river has its own eco-system, own fish, own PH value. If you connect one river with another, it will kill both of them. Don’t be in any misconception.” – Maneka Gandhi

Terming the ambitious river-linking plans of BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi as ‘extremely dangerous’, party MP Maneka Gandhi has said it was she who had stopped former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee from going ahead with it.

The idea of inter-linking of rivers was floated during the NDA government headed by Vajpayee.

Replying to a question on linking river Gomti with Sharda at an event here last night, Gandhi, who is sitting MP from Aonla, said “I had stopped Atalji from this rubbish (Maine hi Atalji ko roka tha is bakwaas se). Such plans are nothing but rubbish.”

“There is no question of it (linking rivers). There can be no scheme in the world as bad as this. Every river has its own eco-system, own fish, own PH value. If you connect one river with another, it will kill both of them. Don’t be in any misconception,” she said.

Gandhi said one can build canals and clean them regularly but connecting Ganga with Gomti would kill both the rivers and is “extremely dangerous”.

She also questioned from where the land for such project would come.

“You will require 10-15 lakh acres of land which will be spoiled. Who will give that much land?,” she said.

Modi, in his speeches during election rallies, has been advocating linking of rivers to prevent drought and floods in the country. – IBNLive, 14 May 2014

Pilgrim offering a lamp to Ganga Devi at Prayag


8 Responses


    An excellent paper on the Sethu project. Conclusions below.

    “In light of the above, one can conclude that the
    project has not been adequately assessed for the
    environmental impacts to the biodiversity of the
    Palk Strait, Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar and
    will have serious impacts and cause drastic
    changes to the biodiversity of the region. It is
    likely to also cause major impacts and losses of
    fisheries and livelihoods to the region. Reviewing
    the current status of the implementation phase of
    the project, considerable environmental and
    economic damage has probably already been done.”


  2. This canal project was an ecological disaster besides being a calculated DMK assault on Hindu religious sentiments! Thankfully it is being abandoned!


  3. Sethusamudram sea canal project falls out of favour with the Centre – Ruchika Chitravanshi – Business Standard – New Delhi – June 4, 2014

    The Bharatiya Janata Party-led government is likely to shelve Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)’s pet project, Sethusamudram, that involves dredging the stretch of water between Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka to make it navigable for ships. The project is currently under litigation after environmental concerns were raised against the plan of linking the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar by creating a shipping channel through the shallow sea.

    Officials in the road, transport and shipping ministry indicated the new minister, Nitin Gadkari, wants an alternative route to be explored along the Sri Lankan waters instead, which would be away from the Ram Sethu, a mythological bridge believed to have been built by Lord Ram in the Palk Strait.

    Subramanian Swamy, BJP leader from Tamil Nadu, met Gadkari late on Monday to raise concerns against the Sethusamudram project. Swamy also tweeted he has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the same. The project was conceptualised to reduce the distance of ships coming from the west coast and western countries to the east coast of India, Bangladesh and China, among others.

    In his first press conference after taking charge as the road transport and shipping minister, Gadkari had refrained from commenting on the future of the controversial project, saying the matter was sub-judice. “We will look at both sides of the argument — for and against the project — and take a call,” he had said.

    Religious organisations and the BJP have opposed the project on the ground that damage would be caused to the Adam’s Bridge or Ram Sethu. The R K Pachauri Committee, in its feasibility report on the project, had said the “project was unviable economically and environmentally”.

    Crores of rupees have been spent on the initial dredging of the channel. The Dredging Corporation of India (DCI) is still struggling to recover about two-thirds of its annual revenue from Sethusamudram Corporation. The total dues stand at Rs 426 crore.

    DCI had employed all its dredgers in the Sethusamudram project in 2006, when T R Balu was the shipping minister. The Chennai-headquartered project was sanctioned on June 1, 2005, at a cost of Rs 2,427.40 crore in the tenth Five-Year Plan with an outlay of Rs 604 crore. A total quantity of 28.42 Mm3 capital dredging was carried out. The dredging in the bridge region was stopped following the Supreme Court orders of August 31, 2007, and September 14, 2007.

    Currently, the ships coming from India’s west coast and other western countries with destination in the east coast of India and also in Bangladesh and China, among others, have to navigate around the Sri Lankan coast.


  4. Maneka Gandhi is a Hindu with the nation’s interest at heart. She is also an ecologist. We don’t have to look further than her for an expert’s opinion on the matter of river-linking.


  5. What they can do is treat the excess river water to have common specifications of pH, dissolved oxygen, minerals , and all other specs and then have water tanks to store be transported to the parched ares by rail. Rail is cheaper than road transport. This will be more cheaper, labor intensive and not expensive and cause no eco damage and displace millions of people in the process of linking. of rivers. There are treatment plants available. The Dutch are very good in this water treatment for a common constant specification water. Interlinking of rivers is not feasible and it will cause ecological problems. MG is right on this.


  6. Dear Sir,
    We public are laymen. We are motivated by religious ethos of Hindu culture. The river-linking—a good or bad idea—how do we know? Only visionary subject experts with a true nationalistic view can show us the right direction. I remember one Shri Kalayanraman—one eminent river research scientist will be one of such experts on this subject.
    Vande Mataram!


  7. Maneka Gandhi is absolutely right! Linking rivers will destroy the ecology of both rivers linked.

    There is also a major technical issue: from the Vindyas to the Deccan the water would have to flow upwards!

    A reading of history indicates that a number of ancient civilizations met their end when their sophisticated irrigation systems caused extreme salination of the soil and they could no longer produce food.

    Salination of the soil is already taking place in Punjab due to over-irrigation in some places.

    Prime Minister Modi’s apparent belief that technology can fix everything must be tempered with the informed input from ecology experts like Maneka Gandhi. Many of our problems today have been created by the over-dependence and overuse of technology and can be fixed only by human discipline and responsible intervention, not by the application of more technology.


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