NEW DELHI: The NDA government’s ambitious Rs 9,393-crore Ken-Betwa inter-state river linking project is likely to be launched in the first quarter of 2017 as it has got almost all clearances, while funding pattern will be sorted out soon, Union Minister Uma Bharti said today.
The first of its kind project covers parts of Madhya Pradesh and poll-bound Uttar Pradesh. It has received clearances for the first phase from the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL), Tribal Affairs Ministry and lately from the Environment Ministry’s green panel EAC.
However, the Environment Ministry’s final nod to the project is still awaited as it decides taking into account the recommendations of its Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC).
Announcing the latest development, Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti said, “I am quite happy that the first inter-state river linking project has received green panel’s nod.”
However, the funding pattern issues need to be sorted out with the Finance Ministry, she said at the third edition of Jal Manthan conference here.
“I am hopeful that we will clear this hurdle as well. I feel we will clear this hurdle very soon and we will launch the project in the beginning of 2017,” she said.
An official statement issued later said the “minister is very hopeful to start the project in the first quarter of this year itself”.
The total cost of the project is about Rs 9,393 crore and is likely to be completed in nine years.
The project comes under Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Program (AIBP) in which the Centre contributes 60 per cent funds and the rest is by the state. But the Water Resources Ministry has asked Niti Aayog to change the funding pattern to 90:10 ratio given it is a national project.
Sources said the Niti Aayog is convinced of the ministry’s proposal but the final call on the funds would be taken by the Finance Ministry.
Environment Ministry’s green panel has recommended clearances to the project by delinking Landscape Management Plan (LMP) which is to be put in place for conservation of tigers in the Panna Tiger Reserve.
Since preparation of LMP would take at least three years, the panel delinked the project from this important requirement and told the project implementing agency to submit a report on a six-monthly basis when the LMP is put in place.
The project envisages construction of a dam across river Ken in Chhatarpur district in Madhya Pradesh to irrigate 6.35 lakh hectares of land, serve drinking water purposes in Bundelkhand region and generation of 78 MW hydropower.
Of this, 3.69 lakh hectares will be covered in Madhya Pradesh’s Chattarpur, Tikamgarh and Panna districts. The remaining 2.65 lakh hectares of area falls in Uttar Pradesh’s Mahoba, Banda and Jhansi districts.
A total of 10 villages consisting of 1,585 families are likely to be affected by this project. About 9,000 hectare area would be submerged, out of which 4,141 hectare forestland in Panna Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh.
The project comprises two powerhouses of 2×30 MW and 3×6 MW each, two tunnels of 1.9 km long upper level, 1.1 km long tunnel lower level and a 221 km long Ken-Betwa link canal, proposed on the left bank of the river.
The project was first mooted in the early 1980s but was actively taken up by the previous NDA government under Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. It was then challenged in the Supreme Court, which finally gave the nod in 2013.