Current Affairs

National River Interlinking Project Updated

Pattiseema project of river interlinking


In an historic step in the mission to inter-link rivers, the Godavari was formally connected with the Krishna in Andhra Pradesh today.


Pattiseema project

  • Andhra Pradesh State government has taken up the integration of two major rivers Godavari and Krishna.
  • It is a inter-basin transfer of water.
  • It is a water transfer project under pattiseema project which involves  building of a pump house about 15 km downstream from proposed Polawaram dam site.The pump is required to lift water and then discharged into the right canal of Polavaram multi-purpose irrigation project(2 Km away).
  • Through this canal, the water will travel by gravitation till it flows into Krishna river.
  • It will happen in monsoon when river will have surplus water.


Significance of project

  • Rayalaseema has scarcity of water and rainfall and is one of the most heavily drought hit places of South India. On the other hand, Godavari river is the most flooded river in the South India.There is Surplus and Deficit. This project from AP state government is a solution for making Rayalaseema Drought free.
  • Every year, an estimated amount of 3000 TMC of water is flooded into Bay of Bengal from river Godavari. Utilizing a minute amount of this wastage will make Rayalaseema drought free.
  • This aside, the availability of the Godavari water for the Krishna delta will spare Krishna water for storage in the Srisailam dam, which normally remains almost empty, to mitigate the impact of frequent droughts in the Rayalaseema regions.
  • The Godavari-Krishna link is actually part of the much larger and much more ambitious Mahanadi-Godavari-Krishna-Pennar-Cauvery-Vaigai river interlinking project.

The Godavari-Krishna link project–>Problems

  • submergence of vast tracts of land, including agricultural areas, rural habitations, archaeological sites and coal deposits
  • displacement of thousands of people. A sizable segment of the population likely to be dislocated is of tribals, who are relatively disenfranchised. If they are not generously rehabilitated, then law and order challenges are inevitable
  • this area is not far from the zones affected by Naxal violence.
  • Special attention must be paid to ensuring their livelihood security.
  • lift scheme is that the project will remain mostly useless since Krishna and river Godavari experience floods more or less during the same period.


  • 1972Ganga cauvery link proposed by Dr. K.L.Rao .
  • 1974-“Garland canal” proposal by captain Dastur .
  • 1980Ministry of water resources frames the National perspective plan(NPP) .
  • 1982The National water development agency (NWDA) set up to carry out pre – feasibility studies .
  • 1999-A National commission (NCIWRDP) set up to review NWDA reports .
  • Aug 15, 2002- President Abdul Kalam mentions the need for river linking in his independence day speech .
  • Oct 2002- Supreme court recommends that the government formulate a plan to link the major Indian rivers by the year 2012.
  • Dec 2002- Govt. appointed a task force on interlinking of 37 rivers led by Mr. Suresh Prabhu. The deadline was revised to 2016.

National River Linking Project

  • The National River Linking Project (NRLP) formally known as the National Perspective Plan, envisages the transfer of water from water ‘surplus’ basins where there is flooding to water ‘deficit’ basins where there is drought/scarcity, through inter-basin water transfer projects.
  • The National River Interlinking Project will comprise of 30 links to connect 37 rivers across the nation through a network of nearly 3000 storage dams to form a gigantic South Asian Water Grid. It includes two components: 
  • Himalayan Rivers Development Component under which 14 links have been identified. This component aims to construct storage reservoirs on the Ganga and Brahmaputra rivers, as well as their tributaries in India and Nepal. The aim is to conserve monsoon flows for irrigation and hydropower generation, along with flood control. The linkage will transfer surplus flows of the Kosi, Gandak and Ghagra to the west. A link between the Ganga and Yamuna is also proposed to transfer the surplus water to drought-prone areas of Haryana, Rajasthan and Gujarat.
  • Peninsular Rivers Development Component or the Southern Water Grid, which includes 16 links that propose to connect the rivers of South India. It envisages linking the Mahanadi and Godavari to feed the Krishna, Pennar, Cauvery, and Vaigai rivers. This linkage will require several large dams and major canals to be constructed. Besides this, the Ken river will also be linked to the Betwa, Parbati, Kalisindh, and Chambal rivers.


  • Alleviating droughts and flood control.
  • Cheap water for irrigation.
  • Availability of drinking water.
  • Generation of hydroelectric power.
  • Allowing more inland navigation.
  • Employment generation.
  • Fostering a spirit of national integration.


Why it couldn’t be implemented yet?

  1. Riparian rights: conflict between states (as- kauveri and Mahanadi issue) have to be resolved. In addition worry of Bangladesh and Nepal have to be taken into account.
  2. Financing: Raising 5.6 lakh crores of rupees is a tough task and if created maintenance of huge asset is a problem. Fear of privatization of water resources.
  3. Flood period: Idea of networking flood water to the deficient basin does not consider the surplus period of donor area and deficient period of recipient area.
  4. Desertification: Prevention of natural flooding may led to desertification as there will be loss of fertile soil.
  5. River pollution: Reducing the flow of river by diversion will increase the concentration of pollutants in the river.
  6. Security: Security of network will be an enormous load on security forces of central and state governments. As canal can be easily breached by manual or natural activities.
  7. Land acquisition and displacement: Misery and injustice to the displaced people in obtaining compensation due to systemic corruption.
  8. Technical feasibility: The slope, altitude and other topographical aspects have to be considered. (e.g. for Ganga, Patna is diversible surplus but for raising water to Vindhya chain i.e. 2860 ft. high enormous amount of power is required).

Recent Develpments

  • The work on the Ken-Betwa river link projects in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh has already begun.
  • Construction of the second phase of the Ken-Betwa link, as well as the Damanganga-Pinjal and Par-Tapi-Narmada links in Gujarat and Maharashtra, may also begin soon as their detailed project reports are already ready.
  • The countrywide grid could increase the country’s ultimate irrigation potential, reckoned now at around 139 million hectares, to over 175 million hectares.

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Comment on the feasibility of National River Interlinking Project especially in context of the finances required for its completion.

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