Responses to Sticklish Issues dated Dec 5

Eighty per cent of India's population live in rural areas and most of them depend on agriculture for their livelihood. To help farmers, the Central and State governments have constructed dams and canals. But they are not sufficient to meet the growing demand for irrigation. Interlinking of rivers is the only way to solve their problems permanently.

C. P. Ramaswamy Iyer, the then Dewan of Travancore, had chalked out a major project to link the Ganga and the Cauvery to solve the water crisis in Tamil Nadu. If we interlink all our rivers, it will permanently solve our water crisis.

V. Venkitasubramanian, Kochi,

The President's suggestion is proactive. In addition to the networking of rivers for better water management, a strong network of minds is equally or more important.

D. Visagamoorthi, Lecturer, V. L. B. Janakiammal College Of Arts and Science, Coimbatore,

President Kalam's suggestion to inter-link rivers could not have come at a better time, with the country facing floods in some parts and drought in others. Apart from that, massive lakes for storing overflowing surface water, rainwater harvesting and recycling wasted water are the need of the day.

S. Krithivasan, SBI,

Mr Kalam's suggestion has come at the right time. Even though interlinking is hard to achieve, balancing the water sources in the country is absolutely essential. All the political parties must come forward to meet the objective.

T. R.Vignesh Raj, Mepco Schlenk College, Sivakasi,

We have one more Subramania Bharathi in Mr Kalam. Let us hope that his vision about the linking of rivers gets translated into reality in the next decade.

R. Swaminathan, Manager (Retd), SBI, Tiruchi,

The suggestion by the President deserves a salam from all Indians. A technical expert committee comprising non-politicians should be formed to work out the details. Separate committees must be formed for estimating, financing and finalising issues to be sorted out.

C. P. Keerthi,

I fully agree with Mr Kalam's idea of connecting all the rivers in India to utilise the water resource. Citizens should raise their voice and co-operateto make this idea a reality.

K. H. Baskran, CMC Ltd, New Delhi,

Linking of rivers can solve the problems of drought and flood. Further, it can create employment opportunities. However, environmentalists and some States have opposed the project. Alternative suggestions have been made. The President is an ardent advocate of the project. Why not make a start in places that are not opposed to it?

A. Jacob Sahayam, Thiruvananthapuram,

We have been talking about interlinking of rivers for many years now. It was during the NDA regime that a feasibility study was carried out. But the cost associated with this project is so huge that raising funds will be a tough task.

K. Govinda Krishnan,

The President has suggested a `network of rivers for better water management'. Consider the benefits: Flood control and spread of water resources equitably; rural employment for over 20-25 years in the construction of canals, aqua-ducts, and so on; rehabilitation and afforestation; larger irrigation area; mini-hydel power generation; and transportation.

Considering the vast range of benefits, the project is worth pursuing in the overall interest of the nation, and ecological disturbances can be contained. This is an old idea, but needs serious push in the present context.

E. R. Textiles Ltd, Hosur,

So far no Indian President has given so much emphasis on water management. However, States such as Punjab have rejected the idea outright. Let us hope the vision of V. K. R. V. Rao on linking of rivers becomes a reality soon.

S. Sivasankaran, Senior Manager (Retd), Canara Bank, Salem

Proper management of river water is a necessity. There is the problem of lack of irrigation in one region and water logging in others. Damage to crops due to drought and improper drainage facility could be tackled. Up-to-date data are required for proper planning and a network of rivers is sine qua non for better water management.

T. V. Jayaprakash, Research Officer (Retd), CADA of Kerala, Thrissur

Mr Kalam's vision of networking of rivers for water management is not a new idea, it is has been envisaged by eminent engineers, the likes of M. Visvesrayya and K. L. Rao, and statesmen such as C. P. Ramaswami Iyer. It is a mega proposal that involves money, resources, engineering skill and human understanding. Though it is in the interest of the country, it is beyond the grasp of our present day politicians. In order to undertake this mega task, the subject of `water' needs to be transferred to the Concurrent List.

Thereafter, all politicians should arrive at a consensus to evolve a body to draw up plans for financial and technical resources as well as a time-schedule.

Funds may be drawn from the legislators' quota and budgetary allocations of panchayats' zila parishads for constructing channels, canals, aqua-ducts and small lakes. The Centre and the State governments concerned should pump in their own resources as also draw funds from international bodies and governments for constructing small and multi-purpose dams.

The inter-State river water authority envisaged in the project should play a pivotal role in securing a broad undertaking from water-surplus States for impounding water in multi-purpose projects for diversion to drought-affected States in accordance with a priority schedule, evolved on consensus.

It is also necessary to constitute a Central Water Distribution Authority manned by eminent technical experts and administrators charged with the duty of distributing water to the needy States, liable to be changed in the light of emergency situations.

Though the idea sounds utopian, it is worth trying as water is going to be a scarce resource, more precious than gold and oil, in the 21st century and a cause for many a battle.

T. S. Sundaeswaran, Consultant, New Delhi

Response to Sticklish Issues dated November 28: That professionals are making a beeline for the post of independent directors is welcome. The new entrants would be useful for, inter alia, company growth and instilling confidence in the minds of small investors.

S. Sivasankaran, Senior Manager (Retd), Canara Bank, Salem

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated December 12, 2005)
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