Assam, Bengal Bihar rivers to be linked

The Indian Government believes this river-linking project, if implemented, will not only provide irrigation and water supply benefits to Assam, West Bengal and Bihar, but also provide large quantity of surplus water for transfer to the southern states. File Photo: Times Of India

The central government in India on Monday announced that it will run a project of connecting Manas-Sankosh-Teesta-Ganga in Assam, West Bengal and Bihar and will approach the three states for their consent, moving forward with its grand plan of connecting rivers across the country.

The project, if implemented, will provide irrigation and water supply benefits to the three states and will also make provision for a large quantity of surplus water to be transferred to the southern states, reports The Times of India.

The central government will prepare a detailed project report (DPR) once the three states agree to the plan. The report will include the modalities of implementation, water sharing and actual cost of the project.

The Manas-Sankosh-Teesta-Ganga link will be the fifth interstate project. The execution work on the first project, Ken-Betwa link, will begin by the end of this year, and three others are in line to be taken up for the cabinet approval, according to the report published in the Indian newspaper.

Photo taken from the Times Of India.

The projects are part of a total of 30 interlinking of rivers (ILR) projects including both interstate- and intrastate-river linking projects, which were conceived under the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee during the earlier NDA regime (1999-2004).

State Minister for Water Resources Sanwar Lal Jat announced the decision to take up the Manas-Sankosh-Teesta-Ganga for linking after the fifth meeting of the special committee for ILR.

"Various clearances related to environment, wildlife and forest for the Ken-Betwa link project are in an advanced stage of processing. I hope with all statutory clearance, we will be able to start the actual execution of work on the project by the end of this year," the minister said while updating the committee on the status of the ILR projects, reports The Times of India.

He also said the government plans to implement this national project as a model for the entire ILR programme with the aim to enhance water and food security of the country.

The committee members include water resources/irrigation ministers from Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, UP, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh who also attended the meeting.

Some of the members of the committee suggested that the ILR projects should be implemented within a definite timeframe.

The water-sharing issue between Maharashtra and Gujarat was also discussed during the meeting as both the states had recently taken a tough stand over the ILR projects after Gujarat demanded in April that Maharashtra must agree to share more water from Tapi if it wanted more water from the proposed Damanganga-Pinjal link, which will supply water to Mumbai.

In this regard, the minister said the preparation of DPR of Par-Tapi-Narmada link project was in the stage of conclusion and it was expected to be completed by the end of this month. He also said that the issue of water sharing between the two states with respect to Damanganga-Pinjal and Par-Tapi-Narmada project would be addressed after the DPR of the Par-Tapi-Narmada link project is completed.  


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