Kochi: A national convention on inter-linking of rivers here has voiced concerns over the project, saying it will "displace" millions of people besides causing "damage" to the environment.
"The project will establish the hegemony of global investors in deciding the life of common people and ultimately bring economic slavery," Indian River Valley Network (IRN) convenor Kumar Kalanand Mani said at the one-day event jointly organised by IRN and Gandhi Peace Foundation, Ernakulam.
The mega project was initially estimated to cost nearly Rs 6 lakh crore, which as per the task force might go up to Rs 10 lakh crore, he said adding that the government has not made it clear from where the funds will be made available. "The project will displace millions of people and uproot their self-sustained living."
It will also "severely damage" the environment by destroying huge forests and will disturb the ground water recharging system, ultimately leading to a severe scarcity of drinking and irrigation water, he claimed.
M K Prasad, renowned environmentalist, in his keynote address termed it as "a suicidal project" and said there is a need to create awareness among the people about its impact. IRN urged the Kerala government to discard its plan of selling water from Periyar River, describing it as "anti-people and anti-environment."