New Delhi: Union Minister Uma Bharti has taken up the issue of green clearances for ambitious Ken-Betwa river linking project with Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar and is hopeful of getting necessary approvals soon, the Water Resources Ministry informed on Monday.
Work on the project, considered as the first effort to link rivers from two different states, was expected to begin early 2016 but has been delayed, pending forest, wildlife and environment clearances.
The minister for water resources made a statement in this regard during the eighth meeting of special committee on inter-linking of rivers (ILR) held at New Delhi on Monday.
"(During the meeting), the minister informed that various clearances in respect of Ken-Betwa link project phase-I are in the advanced stage of processing.
"Bharti said that she has spoken to the union environment minister in this regard and is very hopeful of getting the necessary clearance very soon," the ministry said in a statement.
Terming ILR programme as "very important" for enhancing country's water and food security, Bharti said the NDA government is committed to its implementation with "consensus" and "co-operation" of states concerned.
On status of Par-Tapi-Narmada link project, she said the detailed project report (DPR) of the same was submitted to Gujarat and Maharashtra governments in August 2015 and their comments and views are awaited.
The minister said the issue of water sharing between the two states in respect of Damanganga-Pinjal and Par-Tapi-Narmada link projects is being taken up on "priority".
Bharti informed that an officer-level meeting will be held with bureaucrats from both states and the union ministry to sort out pending issues.
"After this, I will hold a meeting with the chief minister of both the states on the issue. I hope we would be able to reach an agreement on water sharing in the two projects with the cooperation of both the states at an early date," Bharti was quoted as saying in the statement.
Bharti said the task force for ILR constituted by her ministry is examining all relevant issues in details and will help in bringing speedy consensus amongst states on the link project.
About her 3 February meeting with Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik regarding Mahanadi-Godavari link project, Bharti said a team of Centre-state government officers will discuss all issues about this link and will submit its report within six months.
"After this report is submitted, I will have another meeting with the Odisha chief minister to finalise the link project and I am very hopeful for a positive response from the state in this regard," she said.
On some states raising the issue of redefining "surplus water", Bharti said that a sub-committee under the task force constituted by National Water Development Agency will submit its report regarding this within two months.
Water Resources Ministers from Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Rajasthan and senior officials from other states attended the