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  • Vaid's ICS, Lucknow
  • 22, Dec 2021
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Why in News?

The Central government is working on the establishment of an exclusive body to implement projects for linking rivers- To be called the National Interlinking of Rivers Authority (NIRA). 

Functions of NIRA:

  1. It is expected to take up both inter-State and intra-State projects.
  2. It will also make arrangements for generating funds, internally and externally.

About National River Linking Project (NRLP):

The NRLP formally known as the National Perspective Plan, envisages the transfer of water from water ‘surplus’ basins where there is flooding to water ‘deficit’ basins where there is drought/scarcity, through inter-basin water transfer projects.

Significance: It is designed to ease water shortages in western and southern India while mitigating the impacts of recurrent floods in the eastern parts of the Ganga basin.

ILR Projects in India:

As of now, six ILR projects — the Ken-Betwa, Damanganga- Pinjal, Par-Tapi-Narmada, Manas-Sankosh-Teesta-Ganga, Mahanadi-Godavari and Godavari-Cauvery (Grand Anicut) — have been under examination of the authorities.

With regard to the peninsular rivers, the Centre has chosen to focus on the Godavari-Cauvery link than the earlier proposal to link the Mahanadi-Godavari-Krishna-Pennar-Cauvery rivers.

Issues and Concerns:

Interlinking of rivers is a very expensive proposal. It will adversely affect land, forests, biodiversity, rivers and the livelihood of millions of people.

  1. Interlinking of rivers will lead to destruction of forests, wetlands and local water bodies,which are major groundwater recharge mechanisms.
  2. It causes massive displacement of people. Huge burden on the government to deal with the issue of rehabilitation of displaced people.
  3. Due to interlinking of rivers, there will be decrease in the amount of fresh water entering seas and this will cause a serious threat to the marine life.

Facts for Prelims:

Albino Indian Flapshell turtle:

  • A rare species of Albino Indian Flapshell turtle was recently sighted by Mountaineers in Sirnapalli forest in Telangana’s Nizamabad.
  • The Indian flapshell turtle is commonly found in South Asian countries like Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar.
  • The rare yellow color of the turtle may be due to the lack of a pigment called tyrosine present in high amounts in reptiles.
  •  A genetic mutation or possible congenital disorder is likely responsible for the lack of tyrosine.
  • Indian flapshell turtles are typically are only 9 to 14 inches (22 centimeters to 35 centimeters) long, and like to eat frogs, snails and aquatic vegetation.

Conservation Status:

  • IUCN Red List: Vulnerable.
  • CITES: Appendix II.
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I.