The ambitious Rs 45,000 crore Ken-Betwa river link project, which has been pending for the last 16 years, will be inaugurated by PM Narendra Modi in November, Madhya Pradesh water resources minister Tulsiram Silawat told News18 in Bhopal on Wednesday.
The Centre, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh governments have reached a consensus on the project, said Silawat. He, however, said linking the project to UP assembly polls slated to be held next year was not be appropriate as the inauguration was only aimed to address water needs of the two states.
Silawat further said since there were no more pending issues between the two states, the link project work will resume from November.
The Ken-Betwa project was mooted in 2005 to meet the water needs of the parched Bundelkhand region, which is spread across MP and UP borders. The scheme though has been embroiled in several issues for the last 16 years.
After lengthy negotiations on several issues, including water-sharing ratio, the two states and the Centre had signed the MoU on March 22 this year. As part of the project, surplus water of river Ken in MP will be transferred to river Betwa in UP for irrigating 3.64 lakh hectares in Bundelkhand. The projects involved construction of a 77 metre-tall and 2 km-wide Dhaudhan dam and a 230 km canal.
The project had drawn public ire as it is expected to submerge parts of Panna Tiger Reserve, which will hamper the habitat of wild animals. The National Board for Wildlife cleared the project in 2016.
Once complete, the project will be one of its kind endeavor in the country and is expected to usher in a water revolution in the years to come.
Late PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee had mooted this project aiming to make available irrigation facilities in UP’s Jhansi, Mahoba, Lalitpur and Hamirpur and offering potable water facility to large part of Bundelkhand in both the UP and MP years ago.
The Congress party was quick to link the same with the upcoming polls in UP. Kamleshwar Patel, the former minister in Kamal Nath government said it was nothing but part of the BJP’s poll campaign for the UP polls.
(Inputs from Anurag Shrivastava)