Updated: March 23, 2021 4:47:41 am
As the first major step under the National River Linking Project (NRLP), the governments of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and the Centre on Monday signed an agreement to implement the Ken-Betwa river link project.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who witnessed the signing of the agreement virtually, called it a “historical” and “revolutionary step” towards changing the future of the drought-prone Bundelkhand region.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, his Madhya Pradesh counterpart Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Shekhawat signed the agreement.
Invoking former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who had pushed the idea of river-linking during his tenure, PM Modi said: “Today, this agreement will realise the dream of Atal-ji for the betterment of people of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.”
“Kewal kagaj pe sign nahi kiya hai.. Bundelkhand ke bhagya rekha badalne ka karya kiya hai [This agreement has not only been signed on paper but will transform the destiny of Bundelkhand],” said the prime minister as he asked officials of both the states to work hard “so that the long-pending project is completed on time”.
Warning that the situation would worsen if due attention was not given to water conservation the situation, the PM asked officials to ensure that all the projects under MNREGA are diverted towards water conservation.
The Ken-Betwa Link Project (KBLP) involves the transfer of water from the Ken to the Betwa with the construction of the Daudhan Dam, and a canal linking the two rivers, the Lower Orr project, the Kotha Barrage and the Bina Complex Multipurpose Project.
“The project will provide an annual irrigation of 10.62 lakh ha, drinking water supply to about 62 lakh people and also generate 103 MW of hydropower,” the Centre said in a statement, adding, “The project will be of immense benefit to the water-starved region of Bundelkhand, spread across MP and UP, specifically 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.”
The statement said, “This agreement has come after long, consistent efforts on building consensus between the states of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, facilitated by Government of India, and will 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.”
On completion, the project is expected to provide water for irrigation to about 2.51 lakh hectares in the districts of Hamirpur (26,900 hectares), Banda (1.92 lakh hectares), Jhansi (17,488 hectares), Mahoba (37,564 hectares) and Lalitpur (3,533 hectares) in the Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh. About 67 million cubic metres of drinking water will be available to around 21 lakh people who live in the region.
According to the Comprehensive Detailed Project Report, the cost of the Ken-Betwa Link Project is estimated to be Rs 35,111.24 crore at 2017-’18 prices.
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