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Bedti-Varada Interlinking Project

Context:

Environmental groups in Karnataka have criticised the project to link the Bedti and Varada rivers in Karnataka, calling it ‘unscientific’ and a ‘waste of public money’.

Relevance:

GS III- Infrastructure

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Bedti-Varada Interlinking Project
  2. Why is the project distasteful to activists?
  3. Interlinking of Rivers

Bedti-Varada Interlinking Project

  • The country’s major rivers project, conceived by the then-PM Vajpayee government, also included the Bedti-Aghanashini-Varade river-linking project.
  • In 2002, the Central Government established a task team to develop action plans for connecting the riverbeds.
  • It was recommended that the project be started in 2016 once the project’s cost and funding sources were determined.
  • The Bedti-Varada project was envisaged in 1992 as one to supply drinking water by the then government.
  • The plan aims to link the Bedti, a river flowing west into the Arabian Sea, with the Varada, a tributary of the Tungabhadra river, which flows into the Krishna, which in turn flows into the Bay of Bengal.
  • A massive dam will be erected at Hirevadatti in Gadag district under the project. A second dam will be built on the Pattanahalla river at Menasagoda in Sirsi, Uttara Kannada district.
  • Both dams will take water to the Varada via tunnels of length 6.3 kilometres and 2.2-km. The water will reach at a place called Kengre.
  • It will then go down a 6.88 km tunnel to Hakkalumane, where it will join the Varada.
  • The project thus envisages taking water from the water surplus Sirsi-Yellapura region of Uttara Kannada district to the arid Raichur, Gadag and Koppal districts.

Why is the project distasteful to activists?

  • The Bedti, a river that runs west into the Arabian Sea, and the Varada, a tributary of the Tungabhadra River that empties into the Krishna, which empties into the Bay of Bengal, are intended to be connected by the proposal.
  • The project, according to the protestors, won’t guarantee water to the locations that are supposed to benefit from it.
  • Only the contractors, cement, iron, and granite industries and political lobbying organisations would gain from it.

Interlinking of Rivers

  • In 1858, Arthur Cotton (British general and irrigation Engineer) came up with even more ambitious proposals such as connecting all major rivers of India, and interlinking of canals and rivers. He suggested drought-relief measures for Odisha.
  • The National River Linking Project (NRLP) formally known as the National Perspective Plan, envisages the transfer of water from water ‘surplus’ basins where there is flooding, to water ‘deficit’ basins where there is drought/scarcity, through inter-basin water transfer projects.
  • The interlinking of river project is a Civil Engineering project, which aims to connect Indian rivers through reservoirs and canals.
  • The farmers will not have to depend on the monsoon for cultivation and also the excess or lack of water can be overcome during flood or drought.
  • Since the 1980s, the interlinking project has been managed by India’s National Water Development Agency (NWDA) under the Ministry of Water Resources.

It has been split into three parts as follows:

  • A northern Himalayan river interlink component.
  • A southern peninsular component.
  • An Intra-State river linking component.

-Source: The Hindu


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