The Union government is keenly wooing private investment for its mega river linking project. In a recent meeting, chairperson of the project task force Suresh Prabhu tried to convince the business audience that the cost of rehabilitation would be inbuilt as in China's Three Gorges dam project.
Prabhu also did not rule out participation of international funding agencies but emphasised careful dependence on such grants. The project is estimated to irrigate an added 150 million hectares of land, besides generating 35,000 megawatts of electricity. According to the government, the project will complement rainwater harvesting and is not meant to be an alternative.
Prabhu gave an assurance that all efforts will be made to avoid ecological damage, and that the project would actually create "new forest cover". He added that it would be difficult to reach an eight per cent gross domestic product growth rate without such mega projects, which will help eradicate poverty and unemployment.
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