The Union government recently announced that it has circulated a draft memorandum of understanding (MoU) on interlinking of rivers among various state governments. Union water resources minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi said the government had held discussions with state governments to dispel their doubts about the project.
The government will initially undertake the project's peninsular component, comprising 16 links. The Ken-Betwa and the Parbati Kalisindh-Chambal links, involving Madhya Pradesh (MP) and Uttar Pradesh (UP) and MPand Rajasthan, respectively, will most likely be the first to commence. MP has already given its consent for the Ken-Betwa link; UP's consent is conditional. The Mahanadi-Godavari link, involving Orissa and Andhra Pradesh, will most probably be the third project.
While the ministry of water resources says it has received feasibility reports for 14 links, the report for only one link, Ken-Betwa, has been made public. The draft MoU is a tool to clear political hurdles among states. The government has said environmental studies will follow. Issues like funding will be taken up after that, along with commissioning of detailed project reports.
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