Cabinet clears Ken-Betwa river linking project
The Union Cabinet led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday approved the interlinking of the Ken and Betwa rivers at a cost of ₹44,605 crore, which will be completed in eight years.
A massive infrastructure project, the linking of the two rivers will be bring water to the perennially drought-hit and impoverished Bundelkhand region, spread across the states of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
The Cabinet approved a special purpose vehicle called the Ken-Betwa Link Project Authority to be set up to implement the project, which will generate 103 MW of hydro power as well as 27 MW solar energy, an official statement said.
The Ken-Betwa project involves building a dam on river Ken, a major river of the Bundelkhand region, with a 221-km canal to transfer “surplus” water to the Betwa basin. It was first mooted during the tenure of former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.
This project will provide water to the districts of Panna, Tikamgarh, Chhatarpur, Sagar, Damoh, Datia, Vidisha, Shivpuri and Raisen in Madhya Pradesh, besides Banda, Mahoba, Jhansi and Lalitpur in Uttar Pradesh.
The Madhya Pradesh government has approved mandatory alternative land to compensate habitat loss in swathes of the Panna Tiger Reserve due to the river-linking project.
According to the statement, this project involves transfer of water from the Ken to the Betwa through the construction of the Daudhan Dam and a canal linking the two rivers.
The canal will provide drinking water to an estimated 6.2 million people, according to the project’s plan and bring 10.62 lakh hectare under annual irrigation.
Thanking the Prime Minister for approving the project, Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said: “This project will prove to be a boon for Bundelkhand. The project will provide irrigation and drinking water to drought-prone areas of Chhatarpur, Panna and Tikamgarh in Madhya Pradesh and generate 103 MW of hydropower and 27 MW of solar power. This project will bring prosperity in Bundelkhand.”
“This project will particularly benefit Uttar Pradesh as well as up to Panna, Tikamgarh, Chhatarpur, Sagar, Damoh, Datia, Vidisha, Shivpuri and Raisen of Madhya Pradesh. This project, which is slated to be completed in eight years, will change the lives of people Bundelkhand,” he added.