Uma Bharti to meet CMs of Odisha, Maharashtra, Gujarat over ‘inter-linking’ rivers

New Delhi : Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharati on Monday said that the Inter-Linking of River (ILR) programme is very important for enhancing water and food security of the country and would be very helpful in providing water to water short, drought prone and rainfed farming areas.

Bharti chaired the eighth meeting of the special committee for Inter-Linking of Rivers where she said that the Government is committed for implementation of ILR programme with consensus and cooperation of the concerned state governments.

Referring to her meeting with the Chief Minister of Odisha Shri Naveen Patnaik held in Bhubaneswar on 3rd of this month regarding Mahanadi-Godavari link project, Bharti said that it was decided that a team of officers from the centre and state government will discuss all the issues about this link and will submit its report within six months.

“After this report its submitted, I will have another meeting with the CM of Odisha to finalise Mahanadi-Godavari link project and I am very hopeful for a positive response from Government of Odisha in this regard,” she said.

Giving an update about Ken-Betwa link project, she informed that various clearances in respect of Ken-Betwa link project Phase-I are in the advanced stage of processing.

She said, “I am happy to inform that the link project has been recommended by the State Wild Life Board of Madhya Pradesh in its meeting held on September 22, 2015 for forwarding the proposal to National Board of Wild Life of Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate change for according the Wild Life Clearance to the project.”

She added that she has spoken to the Union Environment Minister in this regard and is very hopeful of getting the necessary clearance very soon.

Referring to the status of Par-Tapi-Narmada link project she informed the meeting that DPR of this project has been submitted to the Government of Gujarat and Maharashtra in August, 2015 and their comments are awaited.

She said the issue of water sharing between Gujarat and Maharashtra in respect of Damanganga-Pinjal and Par-Tapi-Narmada link projects is being taken up on priority.

Both the Chief Ministers of Maharashtra and Gujarat have expressed their desire to resolve all issues relating to water sharing under the proposed link project for taking up their implementation.

She said, in this connection it has been decided that an officer level meeting will be held with the officers of both the States and the Union Water Resources Ministry to sort out pending issues.

Bharti said, “After this, I will hold a meeting with the Chief Minister of both the States on the issue. I hope we would be able to reach an agreement on water sharing in the two projects with the cooperation of both the States at an early date”.

Interlinking of River (ILR) programme is of national importance and has been taken up by the Government on high Priority. The purpose of this programme is to ensure greater equity in the distribution of water by enhancing the availability of water in drought prone and rainfed area through interlinking of rivers.

The Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation has already identified 14 links under Himalayan Rivers component and 16 links under Peninsular Rivers component for inter basin transfer of water based on field surveys and investigation and detailed studies. (ANI)