NEW DELHI: Work is nearing completion on agreements to begin work on five projects to interlink rivers, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has said on Monday. He also called for a proper legal mechanism to iron out issues between state governments and the Centre while attempting to come to terms over projects for the interlinking of rivers.
Gadkari said progress has been made towards reaching the final agreements for the Ken-Betwa link project, Damanganga-Pinjal link project, Par-Tapi-Narmada link project, Godavari-Cauvery (Grand Anicut) link project and Parvati-Kali Sindhu-Chambal link.
He also said a total of 47 proposals for river interlinking projects have been received so far from nine state governments - Maharashtra, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Odisha, Bihar, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Chhattisgarh.
Gadakari's remarks came at the 32nd annual general meeting of the National Water Development Agency and 15th meeting of the Special Committee for Interlinking of Rivers. The meetings saw the participation of the water resources and irrigation ministers of a number of states.
Gadkari, the Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Shipping, Road Transport & Highways, called on state governments across the country to take steps to identify river basins which have surplus water availability. He sought recommendations from them on such surplus river systems that would be suitable for interlinking projects, after taking into consideration the water demands of their respective states.
Gadkari also called for an alteration to the paradigm within which governments approach river interlinking schemes. He said a significant portion of the river interlinking project proposals deal with the methods to transport surplus water from Himalayan rivers to water-deficit areas in peninsular India. However, he pointed out, there were many peninsular rivers that carry a lot of their surplus water into the sea. He called for proposals that would attempt to use the surpluses of the peninsular rivers to supply deficit areas.