The National Perspective Plan (NPP) for Water Resources Development was formulated by the Government of India in 1980. The NPP comprises of two components, viz; Peninsular Rivers Development Component and Himalayan Rivers Development Component. Salient features of the two components are given at Annexure-I.
Under the two components of NPP, a total of 30 link projects have been identified; 14 link projects under Himalayan Rivers Development Component and 16 link projects under Peninsular Rivers Development Component. National Water Development Agency (NWDA) has been entrusted with the work of Interlinking of Rivers under the NPP. Out of 30 identified link projects under the NPP, Pre-Feasibility Reports (PFRs) of all the 30 links have been completed, while Feasibility Reports (FRs) of 24 links and Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) of 8 links have also been completed.
The Ken-Betwa Link project (KBLP) is the first link under the NPP for which implementation has been initiated. The Government of India approved the implementation of the project in December, 2021 with an estimated cost of ₹ 44,605 crore (year 2020-21 price level) with a Central Support of ₹ 39,317 crore through a Special Purpose Vehicle, viz; Ken-Betwa Link Project Authority (KBLPA). The current status of Inter-linking of river projects is given at Annexure-II.
Under the NPP, link projects cover many districts of North India which are in the grip of drought. The KBLP will benefit the Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh (MP) and Uttar Pradesh (UP), which faces recurrent drought situation. The project will provide annual irrigation to an area of 10.62 lakh hactare (8.11 lakh hactare in MP and 2.51 lakh hactare in UP) in the Chhattarpur, Tikamgarh, Panna, Sagar, Damoh and Datia districts of Madhya Pradesh and Banda, Mahoba, Jhansi and Lalitpur districts of Uttar Pradesh in Bundelkhand region as well as to the Vidisha, Shivpuri and Raisen districts of Madhya Pradesh. The project will also provide 194 Million Cubic Metre (MCM) of water for enroute drinking water supply to a population of 62 lakh (41 lakh in MP and 21 lakh in UP) and generate 130 Megawatt (MW) of power (103 MW of hydro power and 27 MW of solar power).
The Government has made vigorous efforts by pursuing the inter-linking of rivers (ILR) program in a consultative manner and has accorded it top priority. DPRs of link projects, upon completion, have been shared with the concerned States and efforts made at various levels for the States to reach a consensus. A “Special Committee on Interlinking of Rivers (SCILR)” has been constituted in September, 2014 for the implementation of ILR programme. The implementation of the ILR link projects depends upon the concerned States to reach a consensus on related issues.
This information was given by the Minister of State for Jal Shakti, Shri Bishweswar Tudu in a written reply in Lok Sabha today.
Peninsular Rivers Development Component: The scheme is divided into four major parts:
- Interlinking of Mahanadi-Godavari-Krishna-Pennar-Cauvery rivers and building storages at potential sites in these basins. This part involves interlinking of the major river systems where surplus from the Mahanadi and the Godavari are intended to be transferred to the needy areas in the south, through Krishna, Pennar and Cauvery rivers.
- Interlinking of west flowing rivers, north of Bombay and south of Tapi : The scheme provides for taking water supply canal to the metropolitan areas of Mumbai; it also provides irrigation in the coastal areas in Maharashtra.
- Interlinking of Ken-Chambal: The scheme provides for a water grid for Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh and interlinking canal backed by as many storages as possible.
- Diversion of other west flowing rivers : The high rainfall on the western side of the “Western Ghats” runs down into numerous streams which discharge into the Arabian Sea. The construction of an interlinking canal system backed up by adequate storages could be planned to meet requirements of new areas on the western side as also for transfer of some waters towards east to meet the needs of drought affected areas.
Himalayan Rivers Development Component: The Himalayan Rivers Development Component envisages construction of storages on the principal tributaries of Ganga and the Brahmaputra in India, Nepal and Bhutan along with interlinking canal systems to transfer surplus flows of the eastern tributaries of the Ganga to the West, apart from linking of the main Brahmaputra and its tributaries with the Ganga and Ganga with Mahanadi and further south.