New Delhi, Aug 3: The Union Government is serious on river linking projects and the first such project that could take off in near future would be “Ken-Betwa” link project, informed Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti on Thursday.
She was responding to a query raised by Anandrao Adsul in the Lok Sabha today during the question hour.
Adsul had attracted the attention of the House towards the river linking project initiated during the then Atal Bihari Vajpayee Government with present Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu as its head.
At present inland water transport is headed by Nitin Gadkari and if the two minsters agree the river linking project could be activated in the country, Adsul said.
In response to Adsul's observation Uma Bharti said that earlier there were 30 river interlinking projects and that number has now gone to 31. Work is going on all these projects. The first link among them is the Ken-Betwa link project for which the Supreme Court had directed to be taken up first.
All the clearances for Ken-Betwa project have been obtained and talks are going on between the governments of UP and MP regarding water sharing. As soon as they reach any decision, the date for the projects foundation laying ceremony will be announced, she said.
This will be the first river link project of India and the first gift of the Modi government after independence. After this, work will be taken up on Damanganga-Pinjal and Paar-Tapi-Narmada projects, she informed the House.
The Minister said that with the river linking project we can generate 35000 MW power and irrigate 35 million hectare arable land.
Uma Bharti said that people are in favour of this river linking but the states also should participate in creating a positive atmosphere and refrain from spreading rumours.
She said that while working on the Ken0-Betwa project the ministry had cleared every doubt of the environmentalist. The issues related life of scavenger birds, tigers, and employment to 70 lakh people, all such issues have been amicably sorted out with the environmentalists. She thanked all of them for clearing the project. Now Ken-Betwa is ready to take off any day, she added.
Uma Bharti said that this would be the first such project and the first ever gift of the Modi government. Prime Minister Modi thus would be fulfilling the dream envisioned by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, she added.