NEW DELHI: The Centre today announced that the Ken-Betwa link would be a model for its ambitious river interlinking project and also that steps are being taken to link Sankosh and Mahanadi.
A statement here said that Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti, while addressing a gathering on the occasion of the sixth meeting of Special Committee for interlinking of rivers here, said that various clearances for Ken-Betwa link project are in the advance stage of processing.
"The government will start implementing this national project as model link project of Interlinking of Rivers programme after obtaining statutory clearances," she said and stressed the need to interlink rivers for providing water to water-short, drought-prone and rainfed areas.
She said that the government is committed to implementing the programme with the consensus and cooperation of concerned state governments.
Stating that the Detailed Project Report of Par-Tapi-Narmada link project has been completed by National Water Development Agency (NWDA) and submitted to governments of Gujarat and Maharashtra on August 25, she said that this is the third link project after Ken-Betwa and Damanganga-Pinjal for which the DPR has been completed.
Bharti also said the issue of water sharing between Gujarat and Maharashtra in respect of Damanganga-Pinjal and Par-Tapi-Narmada link project is now required to be taken up on priority.
"I would therefore urge both the governments of Gujarat and Maharashtra to address the issue of water sharing and arrive at an agreement so that the implementation of these two projects can be taken up at the earliest," the statement quoting the Minister said.
Bharti said that task force for interlinking of rivers constituted by the Ministry has started its working and this will help in bringing speedy consensus among states on the link projects.
She also said that a team of senior officials of her Ministry led by Special Secretary had a meeting with Chief Secretary of West Bengal at Kolkata recently and discussed the proposal of Sankosh-Mahanadi link system which comprises four links namely Sankosh-Teesta-Ganga, Ganga-Damodar-Subarnarekha, Subarnarekha-Mahanadi and Farakka-Sunderbans.
The proposed link system would provide large irrigation benefits of about 10.5 lakh hact besides domestic/industrial water supply to West Bengal.
The state government has been requested to agree to the proposal and furnish their suggestions for its improvement, the statement said.