NEW DELHI: The fate of Ken-Betwa river projects, which is India’s first river interlinking and a showcase project for the NDA government, hangs in suspense as Madhya Pradesh has raised certain concerns over the project and decided to delay no-objection certificate needed for its final approval.
Union Minister of State for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Sanjeev Kumar Balyan said that the status of the Project was further reviewed at a high level on July 4 as the Government of Madhya Pradesh has proposed that Kotha Barrage, Bina Complex and Lower Orr Dam also be included in the Project.
These projects were earlier not part of phase 1 of the Rs 16000 crore project and now the state wants it to be added in the first phase. The Chief Secretary, Madhya Pradesh and Principal Secretary, Irrigation Department, Uttar Pradesh has held a meeting in this regard.
Baliyan said that this would also affect the initial allocation of water between the two states as per the 2005 agreement.
“It was therefore, decided that both the state governments should work out an agreement on mutual water sharing to take Ken-Betwa linking project (KBLP) forward. The implementation of KBLP would be taken up once the two states have reached an agreement on water sharing,” said the minister.
The project has received the final approval from environment ministry in May this year. The ministry of water resources, which will be implementing the project, has been pushing for the project saying the project would ensure availability of water to drought prone areas in the both the states of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
Besides, the ministry said that it would provide annual irrigation to about 6 lakh hectares of land and drinking water facility to 13.42 lakh people in both the states.
The project was initially mooted in the early 1980s and was actively taken by the NDA government under Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee but then it was challenged in the Supreme Court. The apex court finally in 2013 asked the UPA government to start the process but it kept sitting on it and a Group of Ministers (GoM) on the river interlinking under Pranab Mukherjee did not even meet once.
The project was revived by the NDA government under Narendra Modi and Rs 100 crore was allotted in 2014 to expedite preparation of detailed project reports.