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India Completes the Long-Awaited Segment of Inter-Linking of Rivers

Sept. 16, 2015 (EIRNS)—After a ten-year hiatus under the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government, India formally completed linking the Godavari and Krishna Rivers today, when Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu switched on the first of the 24 pumps that would lift about 3.4 billion cubic meters (bcm) of water from Godavari River in central India to feed the water-short southern Krishna River, India TV reported. That amount of water is expected to irrigate about 500,000 hectares of agricultural land.

Water from Godavari will be extracted using pumps just before it merges with the sea through pumpsets and will be dumped into the Polavaram Right canal, travelling nearly 174 kilometers. Through the canal, the water will reach to Krishna River. 24 pumps will be installed on Godavari River under this project and will come into operation in several phases; all pumps will become operational by the end of March 2016. In what is claimed to be the first-ever river interlinking in the country, the project is expected to meet the irrigation and drinking water needs of drought-prone Rayalseema region and also bring stabilization under Krishna delta, India TV reported today.

Inter-linking the great rivers of India is a dream that has been around for a while. The inter-linking of India’s water-surplus Himalayan rivers in the north, running west to east with the water-short southern peninsular rivers also running west to east, was drafted in 1972. In 2003, Prime Minister Vajpayee gave the go-ahead to the Godavari-Krishna inter-linking. However, during the period 2004-2014 under the UPA government headed by Manmohan Singh, very little progress was noted. In 2014, after coming to power, the Modi government took up the project and gave it a push, leading to its completion.