VELLORE: The ongoing preparation of the detailed project report (DPR) relating to the linking of rivers Thenpennai and Palar is likely to be completed by July 2015, according to the union ministry of water resources.
This was conveyed in response to a letter from former Vellore MP Abdul Rahman on water related issues in Vellore district. The ministry has pointed out that the pre-feasibility study was completed by the National Water Development Agency [NWDA]in 2011 based on a request from the state government.
The link project proposes to divert excess water from the Krishnagiri reservoir through the formation of a 55 km canal to recharge the ground water potential in Palar basin to stabilize a command area of 11,870 hectares currently irrigated through bore wells.
According to the ministry, the NWDA has prepared a project report on the linking of Mahanadhi, Godavari, Krishna, Pennar, Palar, Cauvery and Gundar rivers under the National Perspective Plan and has circulated the report to the concerned states. 11 meetings have been held with representatives of the states but no consensus has been reached so far.
On the status of the ground water situation in Vellore district, the ministry, while quoting a report from the Central Ground Water Board, has pointed out that out of the 20 blocks, 12 blocks in the district have been over exploited in terms of ground water extraction, three blocks critically exploited and one semi-critically exploited. The annual replenishable ground water resource in Tamil Nadu stood at 22.94 billion cubic meters while the water availability after natural discharge was 22.65 BCM.
In response to a specific suggestion made by Rahman on the need for a formation of a central committee to monitor sand quarrying, and pollution in Palar, the ministry has noted that the state government could take up the issue with the National River Conservation Directorate under the Ministry of Environment and Forests. The ministry has also categorically stated it has not received any proposal from the Tami Nadu state government for improving the Palar river.
While the water resources ministry was non-committal on the issue of building dams across Palar river by neighbouring states, it said that the state governments are supposed to share details of such projects based on inter-state agreements, orders of the supreme and high courts, awards of tribunals whichever might be applicable. The water resources ministry will restrict itself to examining the techno-economic aspects of the projects for cleaning purpose only.
To another suggestion made by the MP on the need to bring ‘water’ under the concurrent list, the ministry has stated that this will require constitutional amendment which, in turn, will require the support of the state governments. The subject of bringing water under the concurrent list on the sidelines of center-state relationship was chaired by two commissions headed by Justice Sarkaria and Punchchi. The reports were submitted in 1998 and 2010 respectively but the subject did not find favour with the commissions, the ministry pointed out.