New Delhi: Underlining that government would ensure there would be no loss to environment while linking rivers across the country, Union Water Resource Minister Uma Bharati on Friday said the "dream project" would be completed within a decade.
Addressing the first meeting of the special committee for Inter-linking of Rivers here, she sought cooperation of various states for inter-linking rivers.
Referring to apprehensions expressed by some environmentalists, the Minister said government will ensure there is no loss to the environment due to this project, a press release said.
Bharati said inter-linking of rivers will be a "milestone" in the development of the nation and the success of the project will prove that environment and development can go together.
She also expressed the hope that the 30 interlinking projects taken up by her Ministry will be over within a period of seven to ten years.
The Minister also informed the meeting that her Ministry will be organising a three-day conference titled 'Jal Manthan' in the second week of next month in the national capital.
The press release said ministers and senior officials from Bihar, Telangana, Assam, Kerala, Rajasthan, Gujarat, UP, AP, MP, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra attended the meeting.
Speaking on the occasion, Harish Rao, Water Resources Minister of Telangana, opined linking of peninsular rivers with Himalayan rivers should be taken up a on priority basis. Water should be transferred from one river basin to another only when there is surplus water in one basin, he added.
While Water Resources Minister of Bihar, Vijay Kumar Chaudhary, was of the view that there should be a national policy on silt management of rivers, his counterpart from Assam, Rajib Lochan Pegu, suggested a separate meeting of North Eastern states be called on the issue of inter-linking of rivers.
The Supreme Court had in 2012 directed setting up a special Committee for inter-linking of rivers.
Subsequently, The Ministry of Water Resource, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation constituted a special committee for inter-linking of rivers under the chairpersonship for Union Minister for Water Resource, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.