The Centre’s ambitious Ken-Betwa river linking project, which aims at addressing water needs of dry swathes in Madhya Pradesh and poll-bound Uttar Pradesh inter alia, has received environment, forest and tribal clearances, sources in Union Water Ministry said.
However, there was no official confirmation in this regard.
On the other hand, a booklet the Ministry released on Tuesday stated that the forest advisory committee of the ministry of environment and forest and climate change has considered the proposal for forest clearance during its meeting held on November 8 and “decided to have some additional information before giving clearance”.
The environmental appraisal committee has “duly considered” and “agreed” for the project in its meeting held on December 30.
The ministry of tribal affairs has also agreed for the clearance of the project during a meeting held on Monday, the booklet reads.
The booklet, circulated at a briefing called by Union water resources minister Uma Bharti, also states that the clearances for the project are in a “very advanced stage” of completion and that the government will start implementing the national project as “model link” of inter-linking of river (ILR) programme.
“The phase I of the project, first ILR project, had received clearance from the Standing Committee of National Board of Wild Life in August last year... The remaining clearances, environment, forest and tribal clearances, too have been obtained, official communication regarding which though is awaited,” sources said.
“Obtaining the wildlife clearance was the most difficult clearance to get in connection with the project. I am thankful to the board for giving us the clearance...now we are pursuing NITI Ayog to change its funding pattern to 90:10 (Centre : state share) from 60:40 for the project given it is a special project,” Bharti said.
Work on the project cannot be launched until the funding pattern is finalised.
Phase I of the project, of linking Ken river in Madhya Pradesh and Betwa in Uttar Pradesh, at a cost of ₹9500 crore is envisaged to help irrigate an area of 6.35 lakh hectares annually.
Of this, 3.69 lakh hectares will be covered in Madhya Pradesh’s Chattarpur, Tikamgarh and Panna districts. The remaining 2.65 lakh hectares of area falls in Uttar Pradesh’s Mahoba, Banda and Jhansi districts.
The project is estimated to provide 49 million cubic metres of drinking water to a population of 13.42 lakh of people in Bundelkhand region in the two states. Besides, the project will also generate 78 mega watt of power.
Envisaged first in 1980 to transfer surplus river water Envisaged first in 1980 to transfer surplus river water to dry/arid areas, the river-linking the national perspective plan, under which Ken-Betwa river-linking project is taking shape, aims at creating additional irrigation potential of 35 million hectare and generation of 34000 mega watt of power.
Controlling flood, navigation, water supply, fisheries, salinity, drought mitigation and combating pollution are among the other stated objectives of the NPP, which gained momentum during the previous NDA regime led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Apart from the Ken-Betwa linking project, Par-Tapi-Narmada Link (to transfer water from surplus regions of Western Ghats to the dry areas of Kutch and Saurashtra and Damanganga-Pinjal link, which will provide water for the Greater Mumbai, are among the 30 such river links planned.