Minister urges Gujarat, Maharashtra to sort out water sharing

New Delhi, Sep 15 (IANS) Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti on Tuesday urged the governments of Gujarat and Maharashtra to sort out the issue of water sharing for early implementation of river linking projects.

Addressing the sixth meeting here of special committee on inter-linking of rivers, the minister advised the two states to take up on priority basis the long pending issue of water sharing.

“I would urge both the governments of Gujarat and Maharashtra to address the issue of water sharing and arrive at an agreement so that the implementation of these two projects (Damanganga-Pinjal and Par-Tapi-Narmada) can be taken up at the earliest,” Bharti said.

The proposed Damanganga-Pinjal and Par-Tapi-Narmada links are two inter basin water transfer links concerning the BJP-ruled states – Gujarat and Maharashtra. The former link mainly benefits Maharashtra, whereas the latter largely favours Gujarat.

Bharti said the task force for inter-linking of rivers, which was constituted by the ministry, started its working and it would help in bringing speedy consensus among the states on the link projects.

On August 25, the National Water Development Agency submitted the detailed project report (DPR) on Par-Tapi-Narmada link project to Gujarat and Maharashtra governments.

It was the third link project after Ken-Betwa and Damanganga-Pinjal for which the DPR has been completed, the minister said.

On Ken-Betwa link project, Bharti said that various clearances were “in the advance stage of processing”.

She said the central government would start implementing the Ken-Betwa link as model link project of inter-linking of rivers programme after obtaining the statutory clearances.

“Inter-linking of rivers 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 rain-fed areas,” Bharti said.

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