Mohan Thulasingam
Mohan ThulasingamIn India, Many rivers are perennial and some get water during the monsoons. The Idea of nationalisation of rivers was mooted by many patriots long back, but the governments so far lacked the political will and foresight for the welfare of the citizens. They could nationalise the banks but not the rivers. They could reorganise the states on linguistic lines but did not integrate the rivers. In the same way, they could have easily implemented the rivers nationalisation plan. The so called leaders did not evince interest but focused on the aspects that would give political mileage and economic clout for them.

When there was a change in the rule at the centre, the masters of new government could lay a golden quadri-lateral network of highways. However, it seems, they never thought on this vital aspect of natural resource. The current administration has begun on sound note by launching the national movements like Make In India, Clean India, Digital India, etc. More recently, a Rs. 6 lakh crore Economic corridor project is planned for developing 44 highway stretches covering 27000 kms to ensure seamless movement of cargo vehicles. The present   Central Government has a golden opportunity for taking action towards nationalIzation of all major rivers and transforming India to a self-reliant and self-sustainable country, and in that process, help in improving the global welfare through low carbon emissions and conservation of the ecology. Thus,he can make history as the Architect of Ideal Nation, and his governance to be called as “The Golden period of India.”

Owing to this long pending nationalisation of rivers, there are many disputes among the States regarding the storage, sharing, and utilisation of the river water.  The recent Cauvery river dispute between the Tamilnadu and Karnataka states is one such glaring case of total lack of policy initiative on this issue. There was widespread rioting and violence was unleashed in Bengaluru city causing heavy damages to the public and private properties. Not only that,  the repetition of such incidents of water dispute brings shame to the federal set up of India and shows the inability of the Central Government to quell such embarrassment to the world’s largest democracy. Even when the concerned tribunal ordered for the formation of a Board  for this purpose about 10 years ago, no steps were taken by the concerned authorities. Now,  the Supreme Court of India has ordered the setting up a Carvery Water Management Board as the most ideal solution to settle on-going Cauvery water conflict. Actually, the Cauvery river dispute is not al all discussed by involving the farmers of both the states. To end all kinds of such river disputes,  the Nationalization of the rivers will be the best solution forever to foster amity and prosperity in India.

The ambitious project of Nationalisation of rivers would benefit all sections of the country. The major benefits are enumerated here under.

Avoid Water scarcity, flooding and unwanted river disputes leading to the political bias and communal strifes.

Harvest and store the surplus water through adding dams and irrigation networks for drinking and irrigation purposes during the summer (which can be minimal if most of the rain water is saved) besides making the clean water available round the year.

Higher agricultural production will ensure robust economic growth.

Internal waterways as another means of transport ( save traffic jam, pollution, and time)

Electric power supply can be augmented by building the hydro-power plants.

Developing the industrial estates alongside the linked rivers will push up the economic growth.

The Wide spread development will be achieved with generation of employment to the people living in the vicinity of the river ways. National integration will be promoted through higher movement of people and goods.

Integration can be done by enactment of a law with provisions  for appointment of a National Rivers Commission with statutory powers for planning, implementation, administration and regulation of the rivers and other structures like dams, power plants, etc. constructed on the upstream and down stream. If necessary, regional level outfits can be set up for easy supervision and control of the above functions. The necessary funds can be obtained through arranging soft loans  from the multinational agencies like Asian bank, World bank, etc..

(Author is a Ex-Banker and can be contacted on tmohan0311@hotmail.com)

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