New Delhi: Union Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Ministry has requested the NITI Aayog to consider the Ken-Betwa River Linking Project in the Bundelkhand region as a project of national importance so that the funding patter of the project could be changed. The ministry wants a change in the funding pattern to expedite the project to help the region to come out of draught and provide the people of the region with drinking water.
The project has been sanctioned Rs 9,392 crore for the first phase. Rs 100 crore had been sanctioned in 2014-15 to start the project. The ministry sources informed us that Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, where these two rivers pass through, have shown their helplessness in arranging for this huge amount earmarked for the project. These 2 States are, however, ready to bear 10% cost of the project.
Sources in the ministry sounded confident that this would be approved by the NITI Aayog. The ministry plans to request Prime Minister Narendra Modi to inaugurate this project from somewhere in the Panna district of Madhya Pradesh close to Khajuraho. Ministry sources informed us that the NITI Aayog would take take a decision on it soon.
National projects are undertaken in the north-eastern States of the country and also in the hill state like Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. The project has to be approved by an expert committee of the NITI Aayog and the relevant file could arrive at the ministry at any moment. The ministry sources said that they had requested NITI to allow this project for once so that Ken-Betwa linking project could be completed.
Union minister Uma Bharati had recently said that this project would benefit the drought-hit region by providing irrigation facility. Sources said once this project was complete around 6 lakh hectare land would be irrigated and around 13.40 lakh people would be provided with drinking water.