With bitter feud over sharing of river waters intensifying across the country, inter linking of major rivers would resolve it substantially, increasing the availability of water in riparian states, Chairman of the Task Force on Inter-linking of Rivers Suresh Prabhu said on Sunday.
Ruling out privatisation of the country's rivers, Prabhu told PTI in an interview that the inter-linking of rivers would not disturb existing bilateral agreements between states on water sharing, awards by tribunals and court orders. The quantum of water received by states would increase without changing the pattern of such arrangements.
"There is no proposal to privatise rivers. We consider water as a commodity for the entire society. Nobody in the Task Force has the faintest idea about handing over the country's rivers to private companies," he said.
Emphasising on the significance of the Rs. 5,00,000 crore project, he said "studies would reveal in a clear way that benefits accruing from the inter-linking of rivers far outweigh costs."
Prabhu said the Ministry of External Affairs was trying to start a dialogue process with neighbouring countries to convince them about the mutual benefits of inter-linkiing.
Asked whether the project would be detrimental to the environment, especially national parks and sanctuaries, he said ISRO and NASA have been drafted to conduct satellite mapping to avoid this.
He said the National Environmental Research Institute along with National Institute of Forest Management and Wildlife Institute of India, have been entrusted with the task to study the ecological viability of the project.