Union minister Uma Bharti today urged the Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh governments to amicably resolve issues related to the Ken-Betwa river- linking programme so that the first phase of the project can be launched at the earliest.
Union minister Uma Bharti today urged the Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh governments to amicably resolve issues related to the Ken-Betwa river- linking programme so that the first phase of the project can be launched at the earliest. The water resources minister’s remarks come against the backdrop of Madhya Pradesh reportedly telling the Centre it would not allow work on phase-I of the ambitious project to begin until it is reworked to incorporate three other water management programmes in the state. Bharti also asked all states to “rise above” their respective outlooks and work instead for a national outlook on water management in the country – an apparent reference to various inter-state tussles on sharing river waters.
She added the issue of water “should not be on fire, but must always be used to douse them”. “The officials of UP and MP should amicably resolve the pending issues related to Ken-Betwa link so that the central government may go ahead with the phase-I of the project at the earliest,” an official statement quoted Bharti as saying. She made the comments during the fourth edition of the ministry’s two-day ‘Jal Manthan’, a consultation programme the government organises on various water-related issues.
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Union Ministers of State for Water Resources Vijay Goel and Sanjeev Kumar Baliyan, Haryana’s Agriculture Minister Om Prakash Dhankar, and Water Resources Minister of Andhra Pradesh Devineni Uma Maheswara Rao also attended the inaugural session. The Ken-Betwa river-linking project is the first attempt of inter-linking of rivers and aims to irrigate an area of 6,35,661 hectares annually in three districts in Madhya Pradesh and four in Uttar Pradesh. In addition, the project will provide 49 million cubic metres of water for drinking purposes to a population of 13.42 lakh in the two beneficiary states. The project will also generate 78 mega watts of power.
Bharti further said that the Centre is always concerned about inter-state disputes on water and tries to resolve it “amicably through persuasion”. She appreciated “political maturity” shown by chief ministers of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana to resolve the disputes between the sibling states and appealed to other states to follow the same. The ‘Manthan’ will be attended by eminent experts in the water sector, representatives of NGOs and senior officers of the central and state governments, the statement said. The attendees will discuss issues relating to irrigation projects today. Tomorrow, the deliberations will be held on river inter-linking programmes.