VIT Chancellor G. Viswanathan said that the new government at the Centre soon should accord the highest priority to linking rivers so that the country’s people and farmers will benefit.
Speaking at a seminar organised jointly by the National Waterways Development Technology and All People Welfare Trust to create awareness about Ganga-Kanyakumari waterways project, here on Saturday, Mr. Viswanathan said States could take as much water as they wanted and provide the remaining to their neighbouring States by linking their rivers. Everybody will accept linking of rivers as it will help all people and nobody will oppose it. “MLAs and MPs need to accord the highest priority to interlink rivers and save water and the new government which will assume charge at the Centre soon should accord highest priority to interlink rivers in the country so that the country’s people and farmers will benefit by this,” he said.
Recalling his interaction as a Parliamentarian with the then Minister for Water Resources Mr. K.L. Rao during 1967, Mr. Viswanathan said Mr. Rao felt that even though all rivers in the country could be linked with the Ganges, it would be easy to link the Godavari with the Cauvery and if we link these rivers, south India will not face any problem for water. The project can be done at an inexpensive cost and no State would oppose it.
“India’s budget is about ₹28 lakh crore and if we allocate ₹1 lakh crore to link rivers the scheme can be implemented in one year. The Central government has spent ₹5 lakh crore for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. If the Centre had spent this amount for interlinking of rivers, a lot of farmers would have benefitted,” he said.
“If we interlink rivers from the Palar to the Tamiraparani in Tamilnadu we will be able to take water from one river to another during floods. We have about 40,000 lakes and waterbodies in Tamil Nadu and we have to protect them by desilting them,” he added.
Madras High Court Judge, T. Raja released a book, Towards The Second Freedom written by A. C. Kamaraj. Mr. Viswanathan received the first copy.
Justice Raja spoke about linking of rivers in the country and the national waterways project.
Mr. Kamaraj, C.M.K. Reddy and V. Manickam, president, All Peoples’ Welfare Trust, spoke.