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POLAVARAM PROJECT

Focus: GS-III Industry and Infrastructure

Why in news?

Work on construction of the Polavaram project is going on as per schedule and 41% of the works has so far been completed.

Polavaram Project

  • The Polavaram Project is an under construction multi-purpose irrigation National project on the Godavari River in the West Godavari District and East Godavari District in Andhra Pradesh.
  • Its reservoir back water spreads into parts of Chhattisgarh and Odisha.
  • It gives major boost to tourism sector in Godavari Districts as the reservoir covers the famous Papikonda National Park, Polavaram Hydroelectric project (HEP) and National waterway 4 are in under construction at left side of the river.

National River Linking Project (NRLP)

  • 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.
  • Digging further into the term ‘surplus’ as per the Government, states that it is the extra water available in a river after it meets the humans’ requirement of irrigation, domestic consumption and industries thereby underestimating the need of the water for the river itself.
  • The National River Interlinking Project will comprise of 30 links to connect 37 rivers across the nation through a network of nearly 3000 storage dams to form a gigantic South Asian Water Grid.

It includes two components:

  1. Himalayan Rivers Development Component
    • Himalayan Rivers Development Component under which 14 links have been identified.
    • This component aims to construct storage reservoirs on the Ganga and Brahmaputra rivers, as well as their tributaries in India and Nepal. The aim is to conserve monsoon flows for irrigation and hydropower generation, along with flood control.
    • The linkage will transfer surplus flows of the Kosi, Gandak and Ghagra to the west.
    • A link between the Ganga and Yamuna is also proposed to transfer the surplus water to drought-prone areas of Haryana, Rajasthan and Gujarat.
  2. Peninsular Rivers Development Component
    • Peninsular Rivers Development Component or the Southern Water Grid, which includes 16 links that propose to connect the rivers of South India.
    • It envisages linking the Mahanadi and Godavari to feed the Krishna, Pennar, Cauvery, and Vaigai rivers.
    • This linkage will require several large dams and major canals to be constructed.
    • Besides this, the Ken river will also be linked to the Betwa, Parbati, Kalisindh, and Chambal rivers.

Proposed benefits of the Project

  1. Hydropower generation
    • The river interlinking project claims to generate total power of 34,000 MW (34 GW).
    • Out of this, 4,000 MW will come from the peninsular component while 30,000 MW from the Himalayan component.
    • The addition of hydropower is expected to curb the drinking water woes of millions and supply water to industries in drought-prone and water-scarce cities in south and west India.
  2. Irrigation benefits
    • The project claims to provide additional irrigation to 35 million hectares (m ha) in the water-scarce western and peninsular regions, which includes 25 m ha through surface irrigation and 10 m ha through groundwater.
    • This will further create employment, boost crop outputs and farm incomes and multiply benefits through backward (farm equipment and input supplies) and forward linkages (agro-processing industries).
    • Along with this the project is expected to create several benefits for navigation and fisheries.

-Source: The Hindu

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September 2022
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