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Experts moot survey before river interlink

Guwahati, Nov. 3: Experts on the Brahmaputra have underlined the need for a comprehensive study on the requirement of water by Assam and how much can be “sent out” before government authorities take up the case for interlinking the river with other river basins in the country.

The Supreme Court has given the Centre and the state government 10 years to network all rivers in the country.

The Centre had planned to link all major rivers in the country by 2043, but the court has asked it to see whether it could constitute a task force immediately to achieve the target by 2012. The task force will work out the modalities to create the national river network.

Dulal Goswami of the department of environmental sciences of Gauhati University, an expert on the Brahmaputra said a detailed study has to be done, encompassing various aspects including social, economic and environmental issues on interlinking of the Brahmaputra with other river basins of the country.

The Union ministry of water resources had formulated a national perspective for water development on the Himalayan rivers. The “Himalayan rivers component” in the plan had envisaged construction of storages on the principal tributaries of the Ganga and the Brahmaputra in India and Nepal, along with interlinking canal systems to transfer surplus flows of the eastern tributaries of the Ganga to the West. There are also plans to link the Brahmaputra and its tributaries with the Ganga and the Ganga with the Mahanadi.

This component would provide additional irrigation of about 22 million hectares and generation of about 30,000 mw of hydropower, besides providing flood control in the Ganga-Brahmaputra basin. It would also provide the necessary discharge for augmentation of flows at Farakka required for flushing the Calcutta port.

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