Government mulls linking three northeastern rivers with Ganga

New Delhi, Aug 3 (IANS) The government is considering the feasibility of a proposal to link three rivers of the northeast with the Ganga, union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Uma Bharti said on Monday.

“…A link, namely Manas-Sankosh-Teesta-Ganga (MSTG) link is proposed under the Himalayan Component of the National Perspective Plan (NPP),” the minister informed the Rajya Sabha in a written reply.

The Manas-Sankosh-Teesta-Ganga link canal envisages diversion of the surplus waters of Manas and Sankosh rivers, with supplementation from the intermediate major streams, “for the benefit of augmenting the flows of Ganga at Farakka (in West Bengal) and further transfer to water-short areas of Krishna, Pennar and Cauvery basins and providing irrigation facilities to the enroute command areas”, she said.

Bharti said the pre-feasibility report of the link has been sent to all concerned states for their comments.

She said the feasibility report could not be prepared as the link canal passed through the Manas Tiger Reserve in Assam in the Manas-Sankosh reach and Buxa Tiger Reserve in West Bengal and other forests within the reach of the Sankosh and Teesta rivers.

“Considering practical difficulties for surveys and investigations in Manas-Sankosh and Sankosh-Teesta reaches, the NWDA (National Water Development Agency) has carried out alternate studies avoiding reserved forest and preparation of a feasibility report is under progress,” she said.

The Manas river, a trans-boundary river between Bhutan and India, joins Brahmaputra at Jogighopa in western Assam. The Sankosh too flows down from northern Bhutan and joins the Brahmaputra in Assam.

The Teesta, considered the lifeline of Sikkim, originates in the eastern Himalayas and joins the Brahmaputra in Bangladesh.

The water of Teesta is a bone of contention between West Bengal and Bangladesh.

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