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Bedti-Varada Interlinking – Prospects and Challenges

From Current Affairs Notes for UPSC » Editorials & In-depths » This topic

Context: Environmental groups in Karnataka have criticized the project to link the Bedti and Varada rivers in Karnataka, calling it ‘unscientific’ and a ‘waste of public money’.

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This topic of “Bedti-Varada Interlinking – Prospects and Challenges” is important from the perspective of the UPSC IAS Examination, which falls under General Studies Portion.

What is Bedti-Varada Interlinking Project?

  • The Bedti-Varada project was envisaged in 1992 as one to supply drinking water by the then government.
  • The plan aims to link the Bedti, a river flowing west into the Arabian Sea, with the Varada, a tributary of the Tungabhadra River, which flows into the Krishna, which in turn flows into the Bay of Bengal.
  • A massive dam will be erected at Hirevadatti in the Gadag district under the project.
  • A second dam will be built on the Pattanahalla river at Menasagoda in Sirsi, Uttara Kannada district.
  • Both dams will take water to the Varada via tunnels of lengths 6.3 kilometres and 2.2-km.
  • The water will reach a place called Kengre. It will then go down a 6.88 km tunnel to Hakkalumane, where it will join the Varada.
  • The project thus envisages taking water from the water surplus Sirsi-Yellapura region of Uttara Kannada district to the arid Raichur, Gadag and Koppal districts.
  • A total of 302 million cubic meters of water from Pattanahalla and Shalmalahalla tributaries of the Bedti and Varada rivers, while 222 million cubic meters of water will be drawn from the barrage at Suremane built against the Bedti river.

Why do activists are bursting against the project?

  • It is difficult to redirect a westward-flowing river to flow eastward. The plan aims to link the Bedti, a river flowing west into the Arabian Sea, with the Varada, a tributary of the Tungabhadra River, which flows into the Krishna, which in turn flows into the Bay of Bengal.
  • The activists have also claimed that the project, once completed, will not ensure water to the places that are intended to be the beneficiaries.
  • It would only benefit contractors, cement, iron and granite industries as well as politicians’ lobbying groups, they pointed out.

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Practice Question for Mains

  1. Examine the prospects and challenges offered by the proposed Bedti-Varada interlinking project. (10 Marks, 150 Words).
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