Nitin Gadkari has infused new life into a languishing inter-state hydel project proposal,using his power as the BJP president to facilitate a meeting between the party-led Madhya Pradesh and Congress-NCP combine-led Maharashtra here on Saturday.
Gadkari was instrumental in getting the power minister and senior power ministry officials of Madhya Pradesh to engage with their counterparts in Maharashtra to resurrect the Jamghat project. The proposal had been almost forgotten in view of the poor chances of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) clearing it given that it is likely to submerge 1,500 hectares of forest area.
The two sides Saturday decided to present the project as a green energy proposal. Today’s meeting was precisely for mulling the practical ways to take the project forward to the implementation stage,” an official said,admitting that it was a long way ahead yet.
While Maharashtra is supposed to bear the dam construction cost,Madhya Pradesh will pay for the power component of the Rs 1,000-crore project. Interestingly,Gadkari himself initiated the proceedings of Saturdays meeting before leaving the forum open for deliberations between Maharashtra’s Irrigation Minister Sunil Tatkare and his Madhya Pradesh counterpart Jayant Malaya. Senior Irrigation Department officials from both states,West Nagpur BJP MLA Devendra Phadnavis,Nagpur Mayor Anil Sole and Municipal Commissioner Shyam Wardhane were also present.
The project involves creation of a dam and power project in the Chhindwara district of Madhya Pradesh across the Kanhan river. Of the 15 TMC water to be stored,nine is proposed for Nagpur city and metro region that will need more water in the future since the present source — the inter-state Pench hydel project — has no further capacity.
“The project is proposed to meet the water requirements of Nagpur city and the proposed metro region till the year 2031. It will also generate about 90 MW that will go to Madhya Pradesh. Plus,a small irrigation and drinking water potential to cater to the farmers in Saoner and Kalmeshwar tehsils of Nagpur is also sought to be created,” a senior Water Resources Department official told The Sunday Express.