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India's neighbours express concern over SC order to link over 30 rivers

New Delhi , Mon, 09 Apr 2012 ANI

New Delhi, Mar 31(ANI): An Indian Supreme Court order directing the government to link over 30 rivers and divert waters to parched areas has sparked off concerns in neighbouring countries.

Bangladesh said it would be hardest hit because it is a downstream country to two major rivers that flow from India.

"We can never agree to it. Our agriculture, economy and our lives depend on these rivers, and we cannot imagine their waters being diverted," the BBC quoted Bangladesh's Water Resources Minister Ramesh Chandra Sen, as saying.

Experts in Nepal said the country's unstable political situation could result in India building dams and reservoirs in the former's territory for the inter-linking project - known as the ILR.

Bhutan, too, has similar locations and some of its rivers are tributaries to the Bramhaputra, a major river system in the region included in India's river-linking project.

"While we recognise rivers as a trans-boundary issue, there has been no direct dialogue as far as building structures in Bhutan for the project (of India) is concerned," Bhutanese Minister for Agriculture and Forests Pema Gyamtsho said.

Critics argued the ILR project would have huge environmental consequences and would be unfeasible on technical grounds and that added not all the states through which the rivers flow might allow waters to be diverted.

The multi-billion-dollar project was announced by the Indian Government in 2002 but had since remained on paper.

The project's basic idea is to take water from areas where authorities believe it is abundant and divert it to areas where there is less available for irrigation, power and human consumption.

New Delhi is yet to respond to the reactions of neighbouring countries. (ANI)

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