The NDA government's ambitious Rs 9,393 crore Ken-Betwa river interlinking project that will irrigate 6.35 lakh hectares and mitigate drinking water woes of Bundelkhand region has received clearance from the green panel and Tribal Affairs ministry.
Announcing this, Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti said her ministry was working with NITI Aayog to finalise funding pattern for the project. However, the final clearance for the project is yet to be given by Union Minister of Environment and Forest, which normally takes into account the green panel EAC's recommendation.
"I am quite happy that the first river inter-linking project has received green panel's nod as well as the tribal clearances formally. The project has already received wildlife clearance," said Bharti. "We are now working with NITI Aayog to see funding pattern for the project is finalised. The project will be launched once the funding pattern is clear," she said at third edition of Jal Manthan conference in New Delhi.
The environmental appraisal committee (EAC) had "duly considered" and "agreed" for the phase I of the project in its meeting held on December 30, 2016.
The project envisages construction of a dam across river Ken in Chhatarpur district in Madhya Pradesh to irrigate 6.35 lakh hectares of land, serve drinking water purposes in Bundelkhand region and generation of 78 MW hydropower.Of this, 3.69 lakh hectares will be covered in Madhya Pradesh's Chattarpur, Tikamgarh and Panna districts.
The remaining 2.65 lakh hectares of area falls in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh's Mahoba, Banda and Jhansi districts. According to the Water Resources Ministry, a total of 10 villages consisting of 1,585 families are likely to be affected by this project.
The project comprises two powerhouses of 2x30 MW and 3x6 MW each, two tunnels of 1.9 km long upper level, 1.1 km long tunnel lower level and a 221 km long Ken-Betwa link canal, proposed on the left bank of the river.
The project was first mooted in the early 1980s but was actively taken up by the NDA government under Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. It was then challenged in the Supreme Court, which finally gave the nod in 2013.