Rs 18,000 crore Ken Betwa river link project cleared

The linking of Ken and Betwar rivers is expected to solve water crisis of Bundelkhand region in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

The investment clearance committee, comprising officials from NITI Aayog and Union Water Resources Ministry, for Ken-Betwa river linking today gave the nod for the Rs 18,000-crore national project envisaged to address drinking water and irrigation requirements of the parched Bundelkhand region.

Union Water Resources Secretary Amarjeet Singh, who heads the committee, confirmed the investment clearance given to the project.

“The investment clearance committee has recommended the investment clearance for the project after detailed deliberations and discussions,” he said.

The first-of-its-kind project covers parts of Madhya Pradesh and poll-bound Uttar Pradesh. Phase I of the project has received clearances from the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL), Tribal Affairs Ministry and lately from the Environment Ministry’s EAC.

The linking of Ken and Betwar rivers is expected to solve water crisis of Bundelkhand region in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

However, the Environment Ministry’s final nod to the project is still awaited as it decides taking into account the recommendations of its Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC).

Also, the EAC’s nod comes even as the project is being examined by Supreme Court appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC) for adequacy of mitigative measures against its adverse impact on the Panna tiger reserve in Madhya Pradesh.

The first phase of the project will cost about Rs 9,393 crore and is likely to be completed in nine years.

The project comes under Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP) in which the Centre contributes 60 per cent funds and the rest is by the state. But the Water Resources Ministry has asked NITI Aayog to change the funding pattern to 90:10 ratio given it is a national project.

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