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Connecting rivers will only invite disaster: Expert

By AJIT PATOWARY

GUWAHATI, July 28 - America-based septuagenarian ex-Boeing engineer Dr Arati Baruah has warned that the Government of India proposal to link the rivers Manas, Sonkosh and Teesta with the Ganga is fraught with dangerous consequences.

It needs mention here that linking the rivers in the Northeast initially with the Ganga and then with the other rivers of the country, through the Ganga, has been on the agenda of the Union government for the past several decades. The move was revived in 1999 and the matter reached the Supreme Court also, which in 2012 left it to the discretion of the policy-makers of the country.

This time also, reports are there that the Union government is going to reintroduce the same move by linking the rivers Manas, Sonkosh and Teesta with the Ganga.

Dr Arati Baruah, who has been studying the rivers in the country and observing developments concerning the Indian, more particularly the rivers in the Northeast, for the past about one decade, said in a mailed communication with this newspaper that certain Himalayan rivers are already in a loop and making any shortcut to connect them haphazardly will invite disaster.

The lake Manas Sarovara is on the foot of Mt Kailash. Four rivers have sprung out from four sides of this lake. The four rivers are the Brahmaputra or the Yarlung Tsangpo, the Ghaghara or the Karnali, the Sutlej, and the Indus.

There is a big loop of the Brahmaputra, pretty much back to its origin, through the Ghaghara. This loop does not mean that water would run backward or uphill but it has a great significance. One may not do any shortcut through a loop, it will make certain other rivers die away and rivers will rearrange.

The Teesta, the Sonkosh (also known as Gadadhar), and the Manas are the three rivers which may cause cascading effects if there is a link established anywhere among these three rivers, she said.

�I won�t speculate on all kinds of probabilities, except one important possibility. Tsangpo will cut through near Lhasa and will come down by the Chumbi valley in Yadong county on the south side of the Himalayan Drainage Divide. I cannot speculate the exact route it will take to Gyantse, not knowing the aquifer specifications nearby, but nature knows its path!

�This cut through will happen along the old route of Indo-Tibet business travel. Assam is closest to Bhutan and the release of water from the Kurichu dam of Bhutan has already started causing floods in Assam.

�On another subject, I would strongly recommend building surge tanks near the foothills of Bhutan inside the Assam border for saving Rangiya and Barpeta from sudden floods when water is released from the Kurichu dam and also when rivers in Bhutan overflow. The Sonkosh and Manas are important rivers of Bhutan,� she said.

It has been known throughout the ages that the rivers in Tibet and India spin out from Mt Kailash. The geological reason for it is that the Indus and Yarlung Tsangpo are the suture that happened after the collision of the Indian plate with the Eurasian plate. Ignoring the making of the Himalayas, and the fragile and unique nature of the Brahmaputra river system can cause a big disaster, earthquake and great misery, warned Dr Baruah.

The interlinking of these rivers will affect not only the eight northeastern states of India but any part of northern India too. Nature knows its topology, groundwater, and its territory. River Saraswati vanished to teach us nature�s lessons, she said.

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Connecting rivers will only invite disaster: Expert

GUWAHATI, July 28 - America-based septuagenarian ex-Boeing engineer Dr Arati Baruah has warned that the Government of India proposal to link the rivers Manas, Sonkosh and Teesta with the Ganga is fraught with dangerous consequences.

It needs mention here that linking the rivers in the Northeast initially with the Ganga and then with the other rivers of the country, through the Ganga, has been on the agenda of the Union government for the past several decades. The move was revived in 1999 and the matter reached the Supreme Court also, which in 2012 left it to the discretion of the policy-makers of the country.

This time also, reports are there that the Union government is going to reintroduce the same move by linking the rivers Manas, Sonkosh and Teesta with the Ganga.

Dr Arati Baruah, who has been studying the rivers in the country and observing developments concerning the Indian, more particularly the rivers in the Northeast, for the past about one decade, said in a mailed communication with this newspaper that certain Himalayan rivers are already in a loop and making any shortcut to connect them haphazardly will invite disaster.

The lake Manas Sarovara is on the foot of Mt Kailash. Four rivers have sprung out from four sides of this lake. The four rivers are the Brahmaputra or the Yarlung Tsangpo, the Ghaghara or the Karnali, the Sutlej, and the Indus.

There is a big loop of the Brahmaputra, pretty much back to its origin, through the Ghaghara. This loop does not mean that water would run backward or uphill but it has a great significance. One may not do any shortcut through a loop, it will make certain other rivers die away and rivers will rearrange.

The Teesta, the Sonkosh (also known as Gadadhar), and the Manas are the three rivers which may cause cascading effects if there is a link established anywhere among these three rivers, she said.

�I won�t speculate on all kinds of probabilities, except one important possibility. Tsangpo will cut through near Lhasa and will come down by the Chumbi valley in Yadong county on the south side of the Himalayan Drainage Divide. I cannot speculate the exact route it will take to Gyantse, not knowing the aquifer specifications nearby, but nature knows its path!

�This cut through will happen along the old route of Indo-Tibet business travel. Assam is closest to Bhutan and the release of water from the Kurichu dam of Bhutan has already started causing floods in Assam.

�On another subject, I would strongly recommend building surge tanks near the foothills of Bhutan inside the Assam border for saving Rangiya and Barpeta from sudden floods when water is released from the Kurichu dam and also when rivers in Bhutan overflow. The Sonkosh and Manas are important rivers of Bhutan,� she said.

It has been known throughout the ages that the rivers in Tibet and India spin out from Mt Kailash. The geological reason for it is that the Indus and Yarlung Tsangpo are the suture that happened after the collision of the Indian plate with the Eurasian plate. Ignoring the making of the Himalayas, and the fragile and unique nature of the Brahmaputra river system can cause a big disaster, earthquake and great misery, warned Dr Baruah.

The interlinking of these rivers will affect not only the eight northeastern states of India but any part of northern India too. Nature knows its topology, groundwater, and its territory. River Saraswati vanished to teach us nature�s lessons, she said.

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