Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Uma Bharti and Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways and Shipping, Nitin Gadkari in New Delhi (file photo).PIB

The Union government has estimated an additional irrigation of 35 million hectares of land and generate 34,000 mega watts of hydro power, through inter-linking of rivers, Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Uma Bharti stated.

The central government's National Water Development Agency (NWDA) has identified 30 inter-state river links under the National Perspective Plan (NPP).

Under the 30 river links, the aforementioned quantity of hydel power and land irrigation is possible, Bharti said in the Lok Sabha on Thursday. The inter-linking of rivers will also bring benefits like incidental flood moderation and navigation, drinking water supply, fisheries, salinity and pollution control, the minister pointed out.

The centre has received 46 river linking proposals from states. Out of these proposals received by the NWDA from nine states, the Burhi Gandak-Noon-Baya-Ganga link of Bihar, Kosi-Mechi link of Bihar, Ponnair-Palar link of Tamil Nadu, Wainganga-Nalganga link of Maharashtra and Barakar-Damodar-Subernarekha link of Jharkhand have been taken up for the preparation of detailed project report (DPR) by NWDA, Bharti said.

The DPRs of two intra-state links of Burhi Gandak-Noon-Baya-Ganga project and Kosi-Mechi project have been completed and sent to the government of Bihar in December 2013 and March 2014 respectively. Based on the concurrence of the states concerned, three river links - Ken-Betwa Link, Damanganga-Pinjal link and Par-Tapi-Narmada link have been taken up for the preparation of DPR, she revealed.

The DPR of Ken-Betwa link and Damanganga-Pinjal link have been completed by NWDA, and submitted to the states concerned. The DPR of Par-Tapi-Narmada link is in various stages of completion. The Supreme Court, in its order on 27 February 2012, has directed to take up Ken-Betwa link for implementation.

The Union government has constituted a Consensus Group - headed by Chairman, Central Water Commission (CWC) and Secretaries of Irrigation/Water Resource Departments of the states concerned - to take decisions on the links for sharing of the surplus water and preparation of DPR by NWDA.

In addition, the issues on the inter-state river links are also regularly discussed during the meeting of Governing Body and Society of the NWDA, Bharti said.