Govt approves ₹28,000-cr Ken-Betwa river link project

River Linking
The ₹28,000 crore Ken-Betwa river project has been cleared by the government. The project involves construction of a 77-metre high and 2.031-metre long composite dam across the Ken river near village Daudhan in Chhatarpur district of Madhya Pradesh. Once completed, the dam will provide irrigation facility to 606,980 hectares of area, drinking water facility for 1.4 million people, and generate 78-MW hydropower. Water will be transferred through a 221-km-long link canal, which will be constructed along the left bank of the Ken river. Though the ILR project has got an initial push from the Vajpayee-led government in its 1999-2004 tenure, the UPA I and II did not take any interest in it. In totality, the National Water Development Agency (NWDA) has received 47 proposals so far for intra-state links from nine states—Maharashtra, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Odisha, Bihar, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Chhattisgarh. The successful completion of these projects will lead to a reduction in disaster during floods, improved irrigation facilities, employment generation in rural agriculture, increase in exports and decrease in migration from rural to urban areas. Sources said there is a need for a proper legal mechanism to resolve inter-state and centre-state issues in ILR projects. River interlinking projects envisage that the surplus water available in the Himalayan rivers be transferred to the areas where water supply is not adequate. However, huge quantities of water from several Peninsular rivers drain unutilized into the sea. River interlinking projects are seriously looking at transfer of this water to water-deficit areas of the country.

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