Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Nitin Gadkari has said that his Ministry will start work on three river interlinking projects within the next three months. These include the Ken-Betwa Linking Project, Damanganga- Pinjal Link Project and the Par-Tapi-Narmada Link projects.
Gadkari said that the three projects are ready with all necessary approvals, and he will hold meetings with the concerned Chief Ministers soon to sort out inter-state issues so that the three projects can take off within the next three months.
The Minister was speaking at the 31st Annual General Meeting of the National Water Development Agency Society in New Delhi today. Ministers of State for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Arjun Ram Meghwal and Satya Pal Singh were also present on the occasion. The AGM was also attended by Water Resources and Irrigation Ministers from the states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand and Rajasthan.
Expressing his concern about the plight of people in the thirteen drought prone and seven flood prone regions of the country, Gadkari stressed upon the need to develop effective means for conserving the available water and sharing what is surplus. In this context he said there is a need to evolve ways to conserve the nearly 60-70 percent of water that runs-off into the oceans.
Gadkari also said that socio- economic cost of water projects should be taken into account while preparing DPR. He also underscored the need for developing innovative funding models for water projects, and accessing loans at very low rates of interest. He assured that he would also take up this issue with the Central Government.
The Minister of State Satya Pal Singh said that successful models of water conservation and water management from different parts of the country should be documented and circulated by the Ministry so that regions can benefit from each others’ experience.
The State Water Resources Ministers drew attention to the specific water related issues in their respective states and how they were dealing with these issues.