Centre, MP and UP sign MoU to implement Ken-Betwa river interlinking project

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New Delhi, Mar 22 (PTI) An agreement to implement the Ken-Betwa river link project was signed on Monday by the Jal Shakti Ministry and governments of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, the first major project under the National River Linking Project (NRLP).

The agreement was signed by Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhwat, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

The Ken Betwa Link Project (KBLP) involves transfer of water from the Ken to the Betwa river through the construction of Daudhan Dam and a canal linking the two rivers, the Lower Orr project, Kotha Barrage and the Bina Complex Multipurpose Project. Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the management of river water in the country has also been discussed for decades and to save the country from a water crisis, it is now necessary to work rapidly in this direction.

He said the Ken-Betwa Link Project is also a part of this vision. He lauded both the governments of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh for making this project a reality.

Modi said the project will give a new direction to the future of Bundelkhand.

The KBLP will provide annual irrigation of 10.62 lakh hectares, drinking water supply to about 62 lakh people and also generate 103 MW of hydropower.

The project will be of immense benefit to the water-starved region of Bundelkhand, especially to the districts of Panna, Tikamgarh, Chhatarpur, Sagar, Damoh, Datia, Vidisha, Shivpuri and Raisen of Madhya Pradesh and Banda, Mahoba, Jhansi and Lalitpur of Uttar Pradesh, according to a Prime Minister's Office (PMO) statement.

It will also pave the way for more interlinking of river projects to ensure that scarcity of water does not become an inhibitor for development in the country.

The project will provide an annual irrigation of 10.62 lakh hectare (8.11 lakh hectare in Madhya Pradesh and 2.51 lakh hectare in Uttar Pradesh). It will provide drinking water supply to a population of about 62 lakh (41 lakh in Madhya Pradesh and 21 lakh in Uttar Pradesh).

The reservoir involves a submergence of 9,000 hectares area, out of which 5,803 hectares comes under Panna Tiger Reserve. The later includes 4,141 hectares of forest area, which is about 7.6 per cent of the total Panna Tiger Reserve area.

The NRLP, formally known as the National Perspective Plan, envisages the transfer of water from 'surplus' basins, where there is flooding to 'deficit' basins through inter-basin water transfer projects.

The National Perspective Plan (NPP) was prepared by the then Ministry of Irrigation (now Ministry of Jal Shakti) in August 1980 for water resources development through inter-basin transfer of water, for transferring water from water surplus basins to water-deficit basins.

Under the NPP, the National Water Development Agency (NWDA) has identified 30 links (16 under Peninsular Component and 14 under Himalayan Component) for preparation of Feasibility Reports (FRs). PTI PR KJ