Centre identifies 16 peninsular, 14 Himalayan river links for inter-basin transfer

Project to reduce regional imbalance in the availability of water; pre-feasibility reports of all 30 links, feasibility reports of 24, and detailed project reports of eight completed so far

floods and droughts river linking project India
The interlinking of rivers programme has been envisaged to reduce regional imbalance in the availability of water, which leads to recurrent floods in some parts, while some experience drought

The Ken-Betwa river link project has got the Centre’s nod, Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said in Lok Sabha on Thursday. The project, one of the links under the Peninsular Rivers Component, will cost about Rs 44,605 crore, of which central support will be Rs 39,317 crore.

Shekhawat said the National Water Development Agency (NWDA) under his ministry has identified 16 links under the Peninsular Rivers Component and 14 under the Himalayan Component of National Perspective Plan (NPP) for inter-basin transfer.

Also read: Linking Ken-Betwa rivers will cost 46 lakh trees! Anybody listening?

Pre-feasibility reports of all the 30 links, feasibility reports of 24, and detailed project reports of eight have been completed, he said during Question House.

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Shekhawat said the government approved the implementation of the Ken-Betwa Link Project (KBLP) in December 2021. The central support of Rs 39,317 crore will come through a special-purpose vehicle, the Ken Betwa Link Project Authority.

Furthermore, under the intra-state link projects, NWDA received 49 link proposals from 10 states. Of these, the pre-feasibility reports of 39 link projects and the detailed project reports of six link projects were completed and sent to the states concerned, he said.

Floods and droughts

Shekhawat said the large temporal and spatial variation in water availability in the country leads to recurrent floods in some parts, while some experience drought. The interlinking of rivers programme has been envisaged to reduce regional imbalance in the availability of water.

The Centre formulated the NPP for water resources development in 1980 to provide storages and transfer surplus waters to water-deficit regions to mitigate the effect of annually recurring floods and minimise droughts, he said.

Also read: Kharif acreage down with dual wrath of nature — droughts and floods

The minister said the NPP would give additional benefits of 25 million hectares of irrigation from surface waters, 10 million hectares by increased use of groundwater, 34,000 MW of hydropower generation, and other benefits, such as augmenting domestic and industrial water supply, navigational facilities, employment generation, fisheries, salinity control, pollution abatement, etc.

Replying to another question, Shekhawat said the government has been implementing Jal Jeevan Mission — Har Ghar Jal since August, 2019, in partnership with states. The aim is to provide potable tap water in adequate quantities, of the prescribed quality, and on a regular and long-term basis to every rural household by 2024.

(With agency inputs)

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