Tapi-Par-Narmada Link Project

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    • Recently, Tribals protested against the Centre’s Tapi-Par-Narmada link Project.

    Tapi-Par-Narmada Link Project

    • It was envisioned under the 1980 National Perspective Plan under the former Union Ministry of Irrigation and the Central Water Commission (CWC).
    • It is one of the 16 link proposals under the Peninsular Rivers Development Component.
    • It proposes to link three rivers:
      • Par: Originating from Nashik in Maharashtra and flowing through Valsad.
      • Tapi: From Saputara that flows through Maharashtra and Surat in Gujarat.
      • Narmada: Originating in Madhya Pradesh and flowing through Maharashtra and Bharuch and Narmada districts in Gujarat.
    • The project proposes to transfer water from the water surplus regions of Western Ghats to the water deficit regions of Saurashtra and Kutch. 

    Issues and Concerns

    • Displacement of Tribals:
      • Tribals are opposing the project because they will lose their land leading to their displacement.
      • In case of displacement, they will have to work from scratch to make that barren land into a cultivable one.
    • Income loss:
      • With the construction of the reservoirs, tribals’ farmland will be submerged and they will lose their income. 
    • Federal Challenges:
      • Even if tribal problems are resolved and the project is completed, there still will be issues among the states for water sharing and other benefits arising from the Project.
    • Affecting Biodiversity:
      • The ecology of every river is unique, and let the waters of two rivers mix may affect biodiversity. 
    • Impact of Climate Change:
      • Rainfall patterns are changing due to climate change, so the basins now supposed to be surplus might cease to be so in a few years.

    Significance of the Project

    • Irrigation Facilities:
      • Providing irrigation benefits to the enroute command and Narmada command.
      • This would save Sardar Sarovar water which will be used to extend irrigation in Saurashtra and Kutch region. 
    • Generation of Energy:
      • The estimated annual energy to be generated from these powerhouses is of the order of 93 Mkwh. 
      • The annual benefits from power generation are estimated to be Rs.5,523 lakhs.
    • Flood Relief/ Disaster Mitigation:
      • The reservoirs will provide flood relief to the people residing in downstream areas.

    Origin and initiatives of river-linking in India 

    • Background:  
      • The idea of interlinking of rivers in the Indian subcontinent is at least 150 years old. 
      • During the British Raj in India, Sir Arthur Cotton, a British general and irrigation engineer, first suggested linking the Ganga and the Cauvery for navigational purposes.
      • In the 1970s, the idea of transferring surplus water from a river to a water-deficit area was proposed by the then Union Irrigation Minister (earlier the Jal Shakti Ministry was known as the Ministry of Irrigation).
    • Creation of National Perspective Plan (NNP):
      • It was prepared by the then Ministry of Irrigation (now Ministry of Jal Shakti) in August 1980 for water resources development through the inter-basin transfer of water, for transferring water from water surplus basins to water-deficit basins. 
      • The NPP comprised two components:
        • Himalayan Rivers Development: It envisages the construction of storage reservoirs on the main Ganga and Brahmaputra Rivers and their principal tributaries in India and Nepal so as to conserve monsoon flows for irrigation and hydro-power generation, besides flood control. Links will transfer surplus flows of the Kosi, Gandak and Ghagra to the west. 
          • The Brahmaputra-Ganga Link will augment the dry-weather flow of the Ganga. 
          • Surplus flows that will become available on account of inter-linking of the Ganga and the Yamuna are proposed to be transferred to the drought-prone areas of Haryana, Rajasthan and Gujarat. 
    • Peninsular Rivers Development:  The main component of Peninsular Rivers Development is the “Southern Water Grid” which is envisaged to link Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna, Pennar, and Cauvery rivers. 
      • The Peninsular component comprises the following four parts: Diversion of surplus flows of Mahanadi and Godavari to Krishna, Pennar, Cauvery and Vaigai. Diversion of west-flowing rivers of Kerala and Karnataka to the east. 
    • Under the NPP, the National Water Development Agency (NWDA) has identified 30 links (16 under Peninsular Component and 14 under Himalayan Component) for preparation of Feasibility Reports (FRs). 
    • The Ken-Betwa Link Project is the first project under the National Perspective Plan (NPP) for the interlinking of rivers.
      • The project involves the transfer of surplus water from the Ken river in Panna district in Madhya Pradesh to the Betwa river in Uttar Pradesh.
      • Both these rivers are tributaries of the river Yamuna.

    What is the National Interlinking of Rivers Authority (NIRA)?

    • It is an independent autonomous body for planning, investigation, financing and the implementation of river interlinking projects in the country.
    • It will replace the existing National Water Development Agency (NWDA) and will function as an umbrella body for all river linking projects
    • It is to be headed by a Government of India Secretary-rank officer.
    • Functions: 
      • Coordinate with neighbouring countries and concerned states and departments and will also have powers on issues related to the environment, wildlife and forest clearances under river linking projects and their legal aspects.
      • It will have the power to raise funds and act as a repository of borrowed funds or money received on deposit or loan given on interest. 
      • It will also have the power to set up a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for individual link projects.

    Source: IE