Ken-Betwa Link Project and its benefits
What is the Ken Betwa Link Project?
- The Ken-Betwa Link Project is the first project under the National Perspective Plan for interlinking of rivers. Under this project, water from the Ken river will be transferred to the Betwa river. Both these rivers are tributaries of River Yamuna.
- According to the Union Jal Shakti Ministry, 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.
Which region will get the benefits of the Ken-Betwa Link Project?
- The Ken-Betwa Link Project lies in Bundelkhand, a drought-prone region, which spreads across 13 districts of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
- According to the Jal Shakti Ministry, the project will be of immense benefit to the water-starved region of Bundelkhand.
Will the project affect the Panna tiger reserve?
- As per Minister of Jal Shakti Rattan report, out of the 6,017 ha of forest area coming under submergence of Daudhan dam of Ken Betwa Link Project, 4,206 ha of area lies within the core tiger habitat of Panna Tiger Reserve.
- The River Ken in the Madhya pradesh passes through the Panna Tiger Reserve.
Are there previous examples of river-linking in India?
- In the past, several river linking projects have been taken up. For instance, under the Periyar Project, transfer of water from Periyar basin to Vaigai basin was envisaged.
- Similarly, other projects such as Parambikulam Aliyar, Kurnool Cuddapah Canal, Telugu Ganga Project, and Ravi-Beas-Sutlej were undertaken.
Recent developments on interlinking of rivers in India
- In the 1970s, the idea of transferring surplus water from a river to water-deficit area was mooted by the then Union Irrigation Minister (earlier the Jal Shakti Ministry was known as Ministry of Irrigation) Dr K L Rao.
- However, the government did not pursue these two ideas further. 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 Peninsular component and 14 under Himalayan Component.
- Ken Betwa Link Project is one of the 16 river linking projects under the Peninsular component.
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