Recently the Center has submitted a proposal for “National Interlinking of Rivers Authority (NIRA)” for river interlinking projects.
- NIRA will be set up as an independent autonomous body. The task of National Interlinking of Rivers Authority (NIRA) would be to investigate, finance and implement river interlinking projects.
- NIRA will replace the existing National Water Development Agency (NWDA), and will act as an umbrella body for all river interlinking projects.
- It will coordinate with neighboring countries and respective states. The same body will also have jurisdiction over issues related to environment, wildlife and forest clearance under river interlinking projects.
- The River Linking Project aims to connect India’s rivers with a network of reservoirs and canals, to ensure greater equity in the distribution of water by increasing the availability of water in drought prone and rainfed areas.
- It may be noted that under the National Perspective Plan, NWDA had identified 14 links under Himalayan River Component and 16 Links under Peninsular River Component for inter-basin transfer of waters.
- This will increase the use of surface water resources by up to 25 percent.
- It will help in improving inland shipping.
- There will be immediate benefits like flood control, water supply, fisheries, hydropower generation, salinity and pollution control etc.
High project cost, lack of feasibility studies with regard to economic, social and ecological impact, loss of biodiversity and forests in downstream areas of the rivers etc.
Source – Indian Express