River inter-linking to be taken up come what may: GoI

New Delhi

Notwithstanding concerns raised by environmentalists, the government today said it will take up inter-linking of rivers on a priority basis “come what may” and that any “obstacles” which may come in the way would be addressed or removed.

“Some of our environmental friends are raising voices.

There will be voices in democracy, let there be. But, they have answers also… We have to take up river linking on a priority basis come what may,” Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said at a function to mark ‘India Water Week’ here.

“Whatever obstacles come, that has be addressed and they have to be removed,” he went on to add.

He said an atmosphere needs to be created in the country so that river inter-linking becomes a people’s movement.

Environmentalists have raised concerns over inter-linking of rivers, claiming that it would threaten the acquatic life and has no hydrological and ecological soundness.

Naidu said developed countries are “giving us lessons and sermons” and added, “We have to first develop, then we can give lessons to others.”

Speaking about conservation of water, Naidu said his ministry is proposing to make water harvesting mandatory for all local bodies.

“I am proposing in the coming days that all urban bodies should make it mandatory to have water harvesting system within their houses and farms. That is going to be the priority also,” he said.

In his address, Minister of State for Environment Prakash Javadekar said that the water management for sustainable development should be considered on the backdrop of challenges posed by climate change.

“There is a situation of stress because climate change will impact both the quality and quantity of water at various places and in various forms,” Javadekar said.

Citing a CAG report on water quality, the Environment Minister said nearly one-third of industrial pollution goes untreated into water bodies.

The Minister underscored the need for prudent water management for water security.

Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharati detailed the steps taken by the government to rejuvenate Ganga and on the river development front.

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