Source: Economic and Political Weekly
This paper begins by summarising the criticisms of the Indian River Linking Project expressed by scholars from India and other countries of the subcontinent. It then asks the question as to why this project has been launched despite apparent weaknesses. The paper shows that IRLP is a culmination of the commercial approach to rivers that sees rivers as objects to be “conquered” and “consumed”. The paper notes that time and experience have made this approach outmoded, and a new, ecological approach towards rivers has emerged. According to this approach, rivers should be appreciated for what they are, i e, as progenitor of various ecosystems and cultures. The ecological approach encourages harvesting river resources in a way that does not affect fundamentally the natural course and flow of rivers and the ecosystems and cultures they sustain. The paper notes that, in view of their strong tradition of reverence towards rivers, the people of south Asia can play a prominent role in championing the ecological approach.
Unless the intenational community acts cohesively to address this issue, the result will be devastating for Bangladesh environment and ecology!