Inter-linking of rivers not in backburner: Govt

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New Delhi, Nov 26 (UNI) The Government today made it clear there was no truth in reports that the issue of inter-linking of rivers project had been placed in the backburner.

Replying on irrigation projects and schemes during the question hour in the Lok Sabha, Water Resources Minister Saifuddin Soz said the scheme was very much in the front burner.

He said it was not a Central subject and it required support from the States and his Ministry was approaching the concerned States, yet some five major river-linking projects were on currently. In the case of Ken and Bethua rivers, the concerned States of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar respectively were preparing the Detailed Project Report (DPR) to be submitted to the Centre within two years.

He said the Centre had taken up the land errosion case of Majuli river island in Assam and accordingly, the fund allocation would be raised to prevent the land errosion there.

Responding to another question, Mr Soz said he was in receipt of a letter on the flood waters in Boroland and had asked his Ministry to look into it and would do the best so as to prevent this sort of flood in the future, he added.

He said during the Ninth plan, the actual expenditure on irrigation for major and medium irrigation projects, minor irrigation schemes and command area development activities was Rs 60147.37 crore. The expenditure during the Tenth plan for irrigation had been estimated at Rs 100151.58 crore. The Working Group had recommended a total outlay of Rs 2,10,825 crore for major and medium irrigation projects, minor irrigation schemes and command area development for the Eleventh plan.

During the Ninth plan, irrigation potential of 7,696,000 hectares was created and for the Tenth plan, creation of irrigation potential of 8,813,000 hectares had been estimated. This included irrigation potential of about 5,87000 hectares created through 20 completed major and medium irrigation projects benefitting the drought-prone areas during the Ninth plan and that of about 5,62000 hectares of irrigation protential through 52 major, medium projects benefitting drought-prone areas during the Tenth plan, Prof Soz added.


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