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Interlinking of rivers progamme is very important for enhancing water and food security of the country : Uma Bharti

Uma BhartiINVC NEWS New Delhi, Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Sushri Uma Bharti has said that various clearances for Ken-Betwa link project are in the advance stage of processing and the Government will start implementing this National Project as model link project of Inter Linking of Rivers (ILRs) programme after obtaining the statutory clearances. Addressing the Sixth meeting of Special Committee for inter linking of river held in New Delhi today, the Minister said interlinking of rivers progamme is very important for enhancing water and food security of the country and would be very helpful in providing water to water short, drought prone and rainfed areas. She said the Government is committed for implementation of ILR programme with the consensus and cooperation of the concerned State governments. The Minister also informed the meeting that the Detailed Project Report (DPR) 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, 2015. She said this is the third link project after Ken-Betwa and Damanganga-Pnjal for which the DPR has been completed. Sushri Bharti 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. She said “I would therefore urge both the government 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 Minister said task force for interlinking of rivers constituted by the Ministry has started its working and this will help in bringing speedy consensus amongst the States on the link projects. The Minister told the meeting that a team of senior officers 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 to furnish their suggestions for its improvement. The Minister also remembered Shri Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya on his birthday today. Paying rich tributes to him Sushri Bharti said he was a visionary engineer and statesman who played a key role in building many dams and reservoirs of modern India. Addressing the meeting Shri Chandra Prakash Chaudhary, Minister of Water Resources of Jharkhand said that Prefeasibility Report (PFR) of Sankh-Southkoel and Southkoel-Subarnarekha river link projects prepared by NWDA has been put on hold because of some objections by Government of Odisha. He said so far no meeting of the sub group constituted to consider these objections has taken place though all the details sought by this group has been provided by the State Government of Jharkhand. Reacting to this the Union Minister for Water Resources directed that the meeting of sub group should be called within ten days. Shri Chaudhary also referred to PFR of Barakar-Subarnarekha river link and said that DPR of this project could not be taken up because of the non clearance from Damodar Valley River Regulation Committee (DVRRC). He urged the Minister to call a meeting of DVRRC at the earliest. The Minister further requested to declare these projects as national projects so that adequate funds were available for their implementation. He also requested to fix a time frame for implementation of these projects. Referring to the restoration of state’s share of water from surplus water of Mahanadi and Godavari, Shri MB Patil, Minister for Water Resources of Karnataka said that despite persistent efforts of Karnataka, the concern of his State has not been brought back into focus either by Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation or NWDA. He said that PFR of Ponnaiyar (Krishnagiri) –Palar link in Tamil Nadu as prepared by NWDA has taken into account an import of 271 Mcum (9.57tmc) upto the upstream of Krishnagiri dam available from drinking water supply of Bengaluru city. Shri Patil said in view of the right to use the regenerated water by Karnataka from Bengaluru water supply which is being drawn from Cauvery River, it would have been appropriate not to have considered the 271 Mcum in the water balance study in favour of Tamil Nadu. He was of the opinion that reckoning of the regeneration flow by NWDA in its water balance study ignoring Karnataka’s interests is not correct. Addressing the meeting Shri Vijay Shivtare, Minister of Water Resources of Maharashtra said that with reference to Damanganga –Pinjal link project his State should be allocated water at 75% dependability instead of 90% dependability and as such, the size of the tunnels/water conveyance system should be designed to suit diversion of such quantum of water, ensuring optimum use of diverted water. He suggested that during water deficit year, distress should be shared by Maharashtra and Gujarat in proportion of water allocation. Shri Shivtare was of the opinion that Damanganga- Pinjal link project should be declared as nation project and joint implementation board similar to Ken-Betwa link needs to be constituted early. He informed the meeting that the DPR of Par-Tapi Narmada link has been submitted to his Government by NWDA on September 02, 2015 and the State Government will send it comments to NWDA within two months time. Senior officials from various States including West-Bengal, Haryana, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, MP, UP, AP, Odisha, Chattisgarh and Assam also attended the meeting.

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