River Interlinking

Ken-Betwa Link Project (KBLP)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Ken-Betwa Linking Project

Mains level : River interlinking

In the presence of PM and Jal Shakti Minister, the CMs of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh have signed an agreement to implement the Ken Betwa Link Project (KBLP).

Must read:

Interlinking of rivers: Significance & Challenges

What is the Ken Betwa Link Project?

  • The Ken-Betwa Link Project is the first project under the National Perspective Plan for the interlinking of rivers.
  • Under this project, water from the Ken River will be transferred to the Betwa river. Both these rivers are tributaries of the river Yamuna.
  • The project is expected to provide annual irrigation of 10.62 lakh hectares, drinking water supply to about 62 lakh people and also generate 103 MW of hydropower.

The Project has two phases:

  • Under Phase-I, one of the components — Daudhan dam complex and its appurtenances like Low Level Tunnel, High Level Tunnel, Ken-Betwa link canal and Power houses — will be completed.
  • While in the Phase-II, three components — Lower Orr dam, Bina complex project and Kotha barrage — will be constructed.

Regions benefitting from KBLP

  • The project lies in Bundelkhand, a drought-prone region, which spreads across 13 districts of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
  • It will be of immense benefit to the water-starved region of Bundelkhand, especially in the districts of Panna, Tikamgarh, Chhatarpur, Sagar, Damoh, Datia, Vidisha, Shivpuri and Raisen of Madhya Pradesh and Banda, Mahoba, Jhansi and Lalitpur of Uttar Pradesh.
  • It will pave the way for more interlinking of river projects to ensure that scarcity of water does not become an inhibitor to development in the country.

What about the Panna tiger reserve?

  • Out of the 6,017 ha of forest area coming under submergence of Daudhan dam of Ken Betwa Link Project, 4,206 ha of the area lies within the core tiger habitat of Panna Tiger Reserve.

Previous examples of river-linking

  • In the past, several river linking projects have been taken up. For instance, under the Periyar Project, the transfer of water from the Periyar basin to the Vaigai basin was envisaged.
  • It was commissioned in 1895.
  • Similarly, other projects such as Parambikulam Aliyar, Kurnool Cudappah Canal, Telugu Ganga Project, and Ravi-Beas-Sutlej were undertaken.

Recent developments on the interlinking of rivers in India

  • In the 1970s, the idea of transferring surplus water from a river to a water-deficit area was mooted by the then Union Irrigation Minister Dr K L Rao.
  • Rao, who himself was an engineer, suggested the construction of a National Water Grid for transferring water from water-rich areas to water-deficit areas.
  • Similarly, Captain Dinshaw J Dastur proposed the Garland Canal to redistribute water from one area to another.
  • However, the government did not pursue these two ideas further.

The National Perspective Plan

  • It was in August, 1980 that the Ministry of Irrigation prepared a National Perspective Plan (NNP) for water resources development envisaging inter-basin water transfer in the country.
  • The NPP comprised two components: (i) Himalayan Rivers Development; and (ii) Peninsular Rivers Development.
  • Based on the NPP, the National Water Development Agency (NWDA) identified 30 river links—16 under the Peninsular component and 14 under the Himalayan Component.
  • Later, the river linking idea was revived under the then Vajpayee Government.

Ken Betwa Link Project is one of the 16 river linking projects under the Peninsular component.

Clearances required for a river-linking project

  • Generally, 4-5 types of clearances are required for the interlinking of river projects.
  • These are Techno-economic (given by the Central Water Commission); Forest Clearance and Environmental clearance (Ministry of Environment & Forests); Resettlement and Rehabilitation (R&R) Plan of Tribal Population (Ministry of Tribal Affairs) and Wildlife clearance (Central Empowered Committee).
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