NEW DELHI: The environment ministry has advised Haryana to come up with clear objectives for getting sanction to its project of reviving and rejuvenating the mythological Sarasvati river.The state government began digging work to trace the river at Kurukshetra in 2015.
Subsequently, the Irrigation and Water Resources Department of Haryana approached the Environment Appraisal Committee (EAC) for environmental appraisal for River Valley and Hydroelectric Projects for construction of the Adi Badri Dam on Somb river and its piped link to Sarasvati river and reservoir at an estimated cost of about Rs 108.70 crore.
But, the EAC observed that the project’s aim is not clear as it was mentioned that indirect irrigation is involved and diversion of water during monsoon period shall be carried out to rejuvenate Sarasvati Nadi.
“Therefore, the EAC advised that the project proponent should firm-up the objectives of the project clearly at the first instance and come back to Ministry. The project cannot be accepted in the present form as it is not having any definite objective,” said the minutes of the meeting accessed by The Sunday Standard.
Excavation work was done in Sirsa and Fatehabad of Haryana and parts of Rajasthan. Besides earmarking `50 crore for the project, Haryana has roped in the Indian Space Research Organisation, the National Institute of Hydrology, the National Remote Sensing Centre and the Geological Survey of India to speed up work.
The proposal submitted by Haryana mentions that the Sarasvati, the holiest river of India, has retained its sacred character — right from the Rig Vedic age to the present day.“The Sarasvati river system in the Vedic period includes the rivers like the Ghaggar, the Markanda, the Chautang, the Sutlej and the Yamuna. From the studies by various eminent researchers for the past several years, it has been clear that the Yamuna as well as the Sutlej were tributaries of the Sarasvati,” said Haryana’s pre-feasibility report.
While there are varied views on existence of Sarasvati, Haryana claimed around 3700 BC, due to tectonic disturbances, the Yamuna was diverted to its present course and the Sutlej shifted to the west from Ropar, resulting in disappearance of the Sarasvati. Haryana claimed Adi Badri dam and Sarasvati reservoirs would also help in recharging ground water.
■ Project involves construction of 33.4 m high and 160 m long dam and a 8.82 km-long pipe link to Sarasvati reservoir
■ The catchment area of Somb Nadi up to Adi Badri dam is about 29.50 km
■ About 31.16 HA of forestland diversion is involved in the project