National Interlinking of Rivers Authority (NIRA) for river interlinking projects

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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.

Project Benefits:

  • 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.

Challenges:

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

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