Centre seeks states’ cooperation for river inter-linking

New Delhi, July 13 (IANS) The central government on Monday sought the cooperation of the states with sufficient water resources for inter-linking of rivers.

“I urge states with sufficient water resources to appreciate the national need for inter-linking of rivers with a spirit of goodwill and cooperation,” Sanwar Lal Jat, union minister of state for water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation, said while chairing the fifth meeting of the special committee on inter-linking of rivers.

“This mega project will go a long way in enhancing water and food security of the country,” the minister said.

Jat said the various clearances related to environment, wildlife and forests for the Ken-Betwa link project were in an advanced stage of processing.

“I hope that with all statutory clearances available, we will be able to start actual execution of work on the project by the end of this year. The government will be implementing this national project as a model link project of the inter-linking of rivers,” he added.

Jat said preparation of the detailed project report on the Par-Tapi-Narmada link was in the concluding stage and was expected to be completed in July.

He said his ministry would soon be taking up planning of the Manas-Sankosh-Teesta-Ganga link in consultation with the governments of Assam, West Bengal and Bihar.

Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu’s Finance Minister O. Panneerselvam urged the central government to start work on inter-linking of peninsular rivers immediately.

“It is our earnest request that work at the ground level be started immediately to interlink the peninsular rivers,” he said at the meeting.

Panneerselvam said Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa was of the view that in the inter-linking projects, the rights of use of water flowing from the existing inter- state agreements should not be disturbed and that the aim should be to increase availability of water to deficit states like Tamil Nadu.

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