Union minister Uma Bharti on Tuesday said there was a need to give a definition to “surplus water” of rivers to prevent disputes over the valuable resource cropping up time and again and underscored the requirement of conducting a detailed study of country’s agricultural land in this regard.
“There is need to define surplus water of rivers once for all … This issue has to be sorted out in consultation with states…Till this issue is decided the dispute about surplus water will continue to crop up time and again,” an official statement quoted her as saying during 10th meeting of Special Committee for Inter-Linking of Rivers (ILR).
She said, “…For this we will require a detailed study of country’s agricultural land including irrigated land, non-irrigated land, agricultural produce and their market.”
The Union Water Resources Minister said that a ‘Jal Manthan’ (seminar on water-related issues) will also be held to deliberate on this issue.
Stressing the need for speedy implementation of ILR projects, she also hoped National Water Development Agency will work with “more vigour” and complete already delayed programmes in a time-bound manner.
Addressing the meeting, Bihar Water Resources Minister Rajiv Ranjan Singh raised the issue of flood situation caused by rivers flowing into the state from neighbouring Nepal and said the ILR projects there should be taken up on a priority basis.
He suggested that ILR programmes having potential of irrigating more than two lakh hectare of land should be declared as National Project.
Uttar Pradesh Water Resources Minister Surendra Singh Patel pitched for initiating work on Ken-Betwa river link project “at the earliest”.
Patel also sought to know total cost of the project and his state’s share in the same.
The Union Cabinet had approved constitution of the Special Committee on July 24, 2014 and accordingly, it was formed vide order dated September 23, 2014.
The committee first met on October 17, 2014 and its last meeting was held on April 29, 2016.
Vigorous efforts have been made for generating consensus with development of alternative plans and also setting out roadmaps for implementation of ILR projects, the statement said.