New Delhi: In line with NDA government's ambitious project to interlink rivers, the Centre is considering linking Sarada river, originating from Nepal, with Gujarat after it traverses through six states.
If executed, the inter-linking river project, conceived to link River Sarada to Yamuna, will benefit north and northwestern states of the country, including Gujarat.
According to top government sources, the Ministry of Water Resources, which is implementing several river inter-linking projects, has taken up the linking of River Sarada as its latest project.
"The link will pass through Uttarkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan and Gujarat," the sources said, adding that it would be 31st inter-linking project.
The development comes in the light of both the countries setting up Indo-Nepal Pancheshwar Development Authority to expedite the completion of detailed project report (DPR) of Pancheshwar Multipurpose project on River Mahakali (Sarada in India) and implementation of Pancheshwar multipurpose project.
During his visit to Nepal last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inked three agreements, including one on the 5,600 MW Pancheshwar multipurpose project that will pave the way to start the stalled project.
Meanwhile, work on the inter-linking of Ken-Betwa link between Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh is likely to start shortly with the issues relating to UP having been cleared, while the wildlife clearance for Madhya Pradesh is awaited.
Touted to be the first project to be implemented under the inter-linking of rivers, a government source said, "The (Ken-Betwa) project is about to start. The area that would be part of the project is habitated by sizable civil population, who wants to move out following rehabilitation measures by government"
"Talks were held with Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on inter-linking of rivers after the state opposed the project. Mahanadi is a key to link rivers flowing from the north with south," it added.
Rubbishing charges that Tapi-Narmada river linking will divert Maharashtra's water to Gujarat, the sources said plan is to utilise water that is entering the sea for public use.
The sources also said that the government is expecting that the cost for interlinking rivers in the country would shoot up to over 11 lakh crore for the 30 projects.