LUCKNOW Waterman Rajendra Singh on Tuesday spoke up against linking rivers, saying such a move will be no solution to drought and flood.“Rather, it will deprive the common people and farmers of natural water resources and benefit the industrialists,” the Magsaysay award-winner said at a press conference here. He was in Lucknow to meet chief minister Yogi Adityanath.Terming the plan to link rivers a threat to national integration, Singh said, rather than resolving the water crisis, it might lead to a tussle between states, as in the case of Punjab and Haryana over the Sutlej-Yamuna link canal. Punjab has refused to release water and the canals in Haryana are running dry. The river linking project will also give a thrust to pollution and corruption, he said. Singh said several districts in the state were in the grip of drought due to deficient rainfall during the monsoon.The situation in Bundelkhand might turn grim in the coming days, he warned.To deal with the water crisis, the state government should revive old ponds constructed under the Bundela and Chandela rule, he said. The state government should change the crop cycle to meet the challenge of the changing monsoon pattern.Earlier, the state received rain for four months during the monsoon but now the showers lasted merely two months.Noting that UP had five agro ecological climatic zones, he said agriculture universities should play a pivotal role in creating awareness among farmers to change the crop pattern.“There is a need to conserve rain water and raise the water table. The state government should prepare river rejuvenation plans, keeping in mind the culture and civilisation of the country. The state needs 100 underground water banks to deal with the water crisis,” he said. Singh, who was felicitated with World Water Prize (2015) in Sweden, said some businessmen, politicians and sadhus had joined hands on the rivers’ issue to serve their vested interest.Some of the sadhus had joined the river rejuvenation movement to hide their misdeeds, he said. He said the funds released for Bundelkhand were used on construction of mandis (markets), buildings and roads but the drought issue and improvement of soil quality were neglected. The state government should prepare a long term plan to battle drought and water scarcity in the Bundelkhand region, he said.