Linking rivers won't make India drought free: Rajendra Singh
New Delhi: River-linking projects will not make India drought free and are being undertaken to support urbanisation and industrialisation rather, Magsaysay award winning water expert Rajendra Singh said here today.
Reacting to the Centre's reported plan to launch the river-linking project from December this year, Singh suggested the Government to instead link mind and hearts of people to water to ensure its security.
"These people (Government) say something and do something (else). River-linking project will not make us drought-free. By undertaking the project, their intention is clear that they want to divert water meant for agriculture to industries.
"Through this project, they are only trying to centralise the (presently) decentralised management of water meant for agriculture to help industries and megapolis," Singh told PTI.
Terming the project as "model of industrialisation and urbanisation", he said the plan was "very dangerous" from environment perspective too.
"Instead of linking rivers, the Government should try to link mind and hearts of people to rivers, so that the rivers which have dried can be resurrected...the way we did it in Rajasthan. Drought will end only when society associates itself with water," said Singh, who is also known as 'Water Man of India'.
To ensure water security, he said it was required it was necessary to recharge ground water reserves with rainwater, and prevent evaporation of rainwater was the only solution to achieve higher levels of ground water.
"We can fill stomach of mother earth with water by holding rain water (recharge groundwater). This stops water from evaporation. So, to end drought in India, prevention of evaporation of water is required.
"We need to recharge surface and ground water with rainwater and then use it for agricultural purpose. This is the only solution which can be done through decentralised water management," he said.
According to reports, Government plans to start work on its project by linking Ken and Betwa rivers to make available water for irrigation purpose in Vidisha and Raisen districts of Madhya Pradesh.