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Meira Kumar wants to end river disputes

Meira Kumar
Gargi Parsai
NEW DELHI: Union Water Resources Minister Meira Kumar on Friday said her Ministry would take the initiative to resolve inter-State river disputes and attempt to “balance” the environmentalists’ concerns on the inter-linking of rivers programme.
“Wherever there is scarcity, there are bound to be disputes. The art lies in resolving the disputes. Solution has to come because it concerns people. There has to be give and take. Our Ministry will take the initiative,” she said after taking charge of the Ministry.
Earlier, she met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and is understood to have discussed water-related issues.
Ms. Kumar emphasised that her priority would be to provide potable drinking water and make rivers pollution-free. “My priority would be to provide clean drinking water and for that it’ll be important to have water purifying units spread across the country, even in rural areas,” he said.
Pointing out that the nation was well-endowed with water resources compared to other countries, she said the challenge was to create awareness about conserving water, utilising the resource efficiently and attending to maintenance of projects.
Asked about the delay in implementation of water projects, she said meeting targets was a “continuous effort, as population and [water] needs keep increasing.”
On the issue of recurring flooding in the Kosi River in her home State of Bihar, Ms. Kumar said the problem would have to be settled but she was in no position to comment as another country (Nepal) was involved. “They too have a role. We will have to find a solution.”
To a query on settlement and rehabilitation of the Narmada dam affected population, she said though a committee was in place under her previous Ministry (Social Justice), she would now examine the issue anew.
Later, Ms. Kumar was briefed about the functioning of the Ministry at a meeting attended by Secretary U.M. Panjiar and senior officials of the Ministry and the Central Water Commission.


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