Thursday, December 19, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



High cost of inter-linking rivers

The rivers have their own valley and catchment and they flow by gravity. The Beas-Sutlej link’s 16-mile long 1,000-foot fall at the Dehar Power Plant cost upward of Rs 1,000 crore 35 years ago. If Indian rivers are connected in about thousands of miles through tunnels, super passages etc, the present estimated cost of Rs 5.6 lakh crore with a price escalation may rise to more than Rs 12 lakh crores.

No state will supply water to other states in the rabi season. Only flood water, which is surplus, will be made available to the other states. The maintenance charge of the perennial canals is about 2 per cent per year. The canals which flow for a few months in a year will require much higher maintenance expenditure.

This scheme, whose cost-benefit ratio will be extremely low, cannot be financed by state and central governments as they are already heavily loaded with loans.

In the case of a river in flood, the kharif crop may perish and the rabi crop may be extremely bumper. The flood water is impregnated with natural fertilisers. It also surcharges the underground water. The flood agony is mostly politically highlighted to grab central aid.

We have spent more than Rs 15 crore on the SYL canal, yet Punjab has not released even one drop of water to Haryana. Similarly, there is a dispute regarding the Kavery. The inter-linking of rivers will increase such disputes.

However, as a trial one or two rivers, which are quite close, may be linked in their unpolluted zone and the results watched.


If multipurpose dams are built on all rivers, specially the Brahamputra, the country's power problem will be solved. More water for irrigation will be available and the flood menace will be reduced.

It is proposed to build massive pucca reservoirs near high hills, and fill them with water by railway rakes. For growing crops in drought-prone areas, the drip and sprinkler system of irrigation, as practiced in Israel, needs to be adopted. Free food may be supplied to the poor in such areas.

A warning given by Professor Husnen of JNU regarding the reduction of glaciers may be considered. The problem may be referred to the CWC, the HNPC and economists to resolve the issue. I have submitted my views in pure national interest.

G.P. GUPTA, Chief Engineer (retd), Saharanpur

Pedestrians unsafe

Pedestrians are vulnerable to accidents and traffic hazards in Shimla. Last month two fatal accidents occurred in Chhota Shimla. Speeding and an increase in the vehicle population are responsible for this.

Pedestrians have to wait for a long time to cross the roads, particularly at the Chhota Shimla chowk, the HP Secretariat gates, the Combermere bridge on the Cart Road near the lift, almost all schools along the circular Cart Road, the ISBT, Sanjauli, Chowk etc.

There is need for automatic traffic lighting at all critical crossings. Some locations need the foot over bridges, sub -ways etc on the Cart Road. The FOBs should be environment friendly, light and pleasing structures.

R. SHEIKH, Shimla


Problems of panchayats

Whatever development is visible in villages is totally due to funds sanctioned by the government. The panchayats have practically no financial resources. They could have created income if shamlat lands had been in their possession. These lands have been forcibly occupied by unscrupulous people with the connivance of members of panchayats.

Approach roads are there in villages but all along on both sides of these heaps of “kooda-karkat” & cowdung are prominently visible right upto the end. Drains are in place but they are full of mud and stink. They are breeding places of mosquitoes. There is always a fear of possible spread of malaria. During the consolidation of land in 1965, paths were provided in the agricultural fields for the convenience of farmers. These have been encroached upon by unscrupulous people in the village.

The panchayats are under the control of Block Development & Panchayat Officers. They play politics & do not assert to improve the hygienic conditions in the village or get the encroachments removed. The health & sanitary staff never visit the village. The panchayats are politics-ridden & thus are busy in infighting. As a result, things are going from bad to worse. Even panchayat members indulge in corrupt practices & make money.

Now the government is bringing government hospitals & schools under the supervision of panchayats. Apart from objections from the staff working in these institutions, I have my doubts about the success of this experiment.



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