Union minister Nitin Gadkari today said five major projects to connect rivers will kick off in the next three months.
Union minister Nitin Gadkari today said five major projects to connect rivers will kick off in the next three months. The Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation was responding to questions during an event organised by a newspaper group in Panaji.
“The project of river connectivity was always close to my heart and I used to discuss it with Vajpayeeji (former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee). There are different situations in India — while some people are affected by the floods, at the same time, at another place people walk eight kilometers to fetch water,” said Gadkari.
In the recent Cabinet reshuffle, Gadkari, who holds the Transport portfolio, was given additional charge of the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.
“The project to take water from Ganga to Kaveri was deliberated about in the country. From the time I took over the reins of this ministry, I have decided to start five big river connectivity projects costing Rs 50,000 crore within three months. I have got an opportunity to fulfil the dream of Vajpayeeji,” he added.
According to the minister, the Centre wants to spend Rs 80,000 crore in five years for irrigation.
“If a dam is constructed by the state government then the union government will fund it. The aim is to irrigate 80 lakh hectares of land,” he added.
Gadkari also said the work on development of inland waterways in the Ganga and the Brahmaputra rivers is going on.
“It will be completed by 2018 with 40 river ports…We are working on inland waterways running across 20,000 kilometres.
“I also want to work on cleaning Ganga river. I am happy that I got an opportunity to clean Ganga river,” said the minister.
On the allocation of ministries to him, Gadkari said the prime minister had called him when he was in Nagpur.
“I asked him to give me some work which looks impossible which I would try to accomplish. He said I have faith in you.
“The prime minister has huge expectation from these ministries. I feel that water is the major developmental issue of the country. If the irrigation touches 50 per cent mark, then people will not migrate to metro cities and our rural economy will get a boost,” he said.
“Employment will be created in the villages. In last few years, the migration rate has been 35 per cent. Water is most important to stop it,” Gadkari added.
He also rubbished allegations that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh was actively involved in deciding the allotment of ministries.
“These are baseless rumours. They are 101 per cent wrong. Sangh (RSS) does not decide anything,” he asserted.
“We were told by the PM to evaluate the performance of ministers that is why a group of four of us including Sushma Swaraj, Rajnath Singh and Arun Jaitley had a meeting. Then we submitted our report to the PM.”