Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Assam, Bengal and Bihar rivers may be linked

The Centre has announced that it will take up the task of connecting Manas-Sankosh-Teesta-Ganga in Assam, West Bengal and Bihar. The three states will soon be approached for their consent.

This project, if implemented, will not only provide irrigation and water supply benefits to the three states but also make provide large quantity of surplus water for transfer to the southern states.

Once these three states agree for to the plan, the Centre will take up the task of preparing a detailed project report (DPR), including the modalities of implementation, water sharing and actual cost of the project.

The Manas-Sankosh-Teesta-Ganga link will be the fifth interstate project. While actual execution work on the first project, Ken-Betwa link, will begin by the end of this year, three others are at various stages before being taken up for the Cabinet approval.

All these are part of the total 30 interlinking of rivers (ILR) projects, which was conceived during the earlier NDA regime (1999-2004) under the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. It includes both interstate- and intrastate-river linking projects. Decision to take up the Manas-Sankosh-Teesta-Ganga for linking was announced by the minister of state for water resources Sanwar Lal Jat after the fifth meeting of the special committee for ILR.

Updating the committee on the status of the ILR projects, Jat said, "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".

He said the government would implement this national project as a model for the entire ILR programme which will go a long way in enhancing water and food security of the country.

Water resources/irrigation ministers from Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, UP, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh attended the meeting as members of the committee. Some of them were of the view that the ILR projects should be implemented within a definite timeframe.

The water-sharing issue between Maharashtra and Gujarat also came up for discussion during the meeting as both the states had recently taken a tough stand over the ILR projects. It had become a bone of contention between the two states when Gujarat had in April demanded 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.

Referring to those links, Jat said the work for preparation of DPR of Par-Tapi-Narmada link project was in concluding stage and it was expected to be completed by this month end. He said the issue of water sharing between both the states in respect to Damanganga-Pinjal and Par-Tapi-Narmada project would be addressed after the completion of the DPR of the Par-Tapi-Narmada link project.

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