India to proceed cautiously on river-linking plan
India will move cautiously on interlinking of rivers taking its impact on environment and ecology into consideration, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said yesterday.
At a seminar in New Delhi, the prime minister said, "The interlinking of rivers is something which can help expand areas under irrigation. But there are concerns like environmental hazards."
Replying to a question on how interlinking of rivers can bring relief from the backdrop of droughts and floods in the country, Manmohan said there are different views among experts on how the interlinking of rivers can help provide water security to the people.
Two or three projects were taken up as per the project designs. The Ken-Betwa area (covering Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh states) is one where experiments will be carried out on linking of river system, he added.
He also expressed concern over the issue that the process can lead to irreparable damage to the ecology and said they have to move ahead with caution.
Recently, Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi had termed the interlinking of rivers a "disastrous idea".
"It is a disastrous idea that will be extremely dangerous to the environment of the country," Gandhi had told reporters in Chennai last month.