Fluoride Action Network

Vasundhara Raje’s river-linking project will solve Rajasthan’s water crisis

Source: Niti Central | July 25th, 2014 | By Mrityunjay Kumar
Location: India

With the intention of sorting out the acute water crisis in almost half of Rajasthan, the Vasundhara Raje-led BJP Government is working on an ambitious project to link Brahmani and Banas rivers.

According to an Economic Times report, the State Government made an announcement on Thursday in the Assembly that a giant drinking-water project in the southern district of Chittorgarh is being drafted. It involves transfer of inter-basin water of two rivers — Brahmani and Banas — to feed the Bisalpur Dam.

Earlier, Raje had announced a pilot project for connecting the Bunandi and Aahu rivers for irrigation and water-recharge purposes. Three more projects were also being considered, the report said. A detailed project report on the Chittorgarh project is to be drafted soon.

For the project, the Government has worked out hydrology studies and cost details and it is claimed that the project is technically feasible. Rajasthan Water Resources Secretary Azitabh Sharma said that the tentative cost estimate for the project is Rs 2,300 crore.

Rajasthan is the State known for acute water scarcity and previous Government’s apathy aggravated the problem. After BJP’s landslide victory in the December 2013 Assembly poll and May 2014 Lok Sabha election, the State’s Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje is taking forward Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet project of river-linking which is expected to solve the State’s drinking water and irrigation problems.

Speaking on the prospects of the project’s success, Rajasthan BJP spokesperson Jyoti Kiran said that addressing the problem of water scarcity has been the first priority of the new State Government. The linking of Brahmani and Banas rivers is on the line of the party’s promise under Suraj Sankalp which was in a way the BJP’s manifesto for State Assembly election.

She said that in half of Rajasthan, people are faced with water scarcity or facing health related problems due to drinking water which has fluoride in abundance. Realising the agony of people, the State Government is seriously working on a project to sort out the water crisis in large parts of the State.

Every year, Rajasthan is hit by severe drought or a drought-like situation. This season, nearly half of Rajasthan is faced with acute water scarcity and the State is facing over 80 per cent rainfall deficit, aggravating the problem further (read more). A report in The Hindu says that in the second week of July, Rajasthan received only 22 mm of rain, as against the normal 81 mm. As many as 21 of 33 districts have received less than 70 per cent rainfall. If the weather office is to be believed, rain will be delayed by another week.

Recalling Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s views on sorting out the water crisis in India, Jyoti Kiran said, “The previous UPA Government at the Centre and the State’s Gehlot Government did not focus on an integrated plan to cover all the water-related issues like drinking, sanitation and irrigation which was a main reason for people’s suffering. Even an Ajmar-like city, which is a hub of education as well as an important cultural centre, is getting water supply once in 4-5 days. It tells the story of how pathetic the situation really is.”

The new State Government is seriously working on this project with the help of the Centre, and it is hoped that Rajasthan will get rid of the tag of being a water-deficient State.