BJP’s unilateral push for Godavari-Cauvery river linking detrimental to Telangana

The BJP-led central government is facing criticism for its handling of river linking projects, particularly the Godavari-Cauvery connection, amidst concerns over potential violations of states’ water rights. The central government’s unilateral push for the project, disregarding objections from concerned states, has sparked outrage among engineers and irrigation experts.

The concept of interlinking rivers to provide irrigation and drinking water to drought-prone areas dates back to the 1960s. However, progress has been slow due to various factors. The National River Linking Project, initiated by the NDA government in 2002, saw renewed interest when the BJP returned to power in 2014.

The proposed Godavari-Cauvery link is part of a larger plan involving the interconnection of 30 Himalayan and peninsular rivers. The project aims to divert flood waters from the Ganga river to the Mahanadi, then to the Godavari, and finally to the Cauvery River. However, objections from states like Odisha have stalled progress, leading the central government to pressure states to prioritize the Godavari-Cauvery link.

Critics argue that the central government’s approach overlooks existing water-sharing agreements and fails to consider the concerns of basin states. The lack of accurate data on water availability further complicates the situation. Moreover, the proposal to divert surplus water to non-basin states like Tamil Nadu has raised concerns about potential water disputes in the future. 

States within the Godavari basin, including Telangana, still struggle with drought conditions, making it imperative to address local water needs before considering diversion to other regions. The reliance on lift schemes as a solution for Telangana’s water woes highlights the complexities involved in managing water resources. 

Overall, the central government’s unilateral approach to river linking projects has stirred controversy and drawn criticism from experts and affected states alike.