CHATTARPUR: Union minister Nitin Gadkari today said decks have been cleared for the implementation of the Ken-Betwa river linking project and Prime Minister Narendra Modi would lay the foundation stone within the next two months in Bundelkhand.
The ambitious project of the NDA government aims at addressing water needs of dry swathes in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
"I assure you that the Prime Minister will come to Bundelkhand within two months and lay the foundation stone of this project (Ken-Betwa river linking). We will try to ensure its implementation within the next three years, though project (completion) time is five years and free the Budelkhand region from the drought-like situation," Gadkari said while addressing a programme here.
Gadkari said the project would irrigate 15 lakh acres of land in Bundelkhand region in Madhya Pradesh and about six lakh acres in Uttar Pradesh.
A plea last year had challenged the environment clearance granted to the project, which would be located in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
"90 per cent of the total amount of Rs 25,000 crore which is needed for this project would be given by the Centre," the Road Transport & Highways, Shipping and Water Resources Minister said.
Early implementation of the project would depend on the acquisition of land by the state government, he said.
Gadkari said rivers in the country would now be linked through pipelines and not by canals.
"16 river-linking projects have been proposed across the country and all were cleared by the Centre. We have also made it mandatory to implement the Madhya Pradesh model of river linking, which connects the water bodies through pipelines instead of canals," he said.
Gadkari further said the focus of the Centre is on providing facilities in villages to prevent migration of people to big cities.
"Villagers are going to metros, which are consequently facing the problems of drinking water, habitation etc. The Centre wants to strengthen villages by developing schools, industries, irrigation, agriculture, and by providing employment etc. Why the villagers would migrate if all these facilities are made available in villages?" he asked.
The minister said the use of the second-generation ethanol and methanol as well as non-conventional fuel resources would bring down the country's current crude import bill of Rs 7 lakh crore.