Cabinet clears 14 National Projects under AIBP

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New Delhi, Feb 7 (UNI) The Cabinet today cleared 14 major irrigation schemes worth Rs 53,200 crores ('National Projects') under the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Projects (AIBP), mostly in Himalayan region with a promise to provide 90 per cent of the estimated cost if the states were to approach the Centre with a common proposal.

Giving out the details of the projects, Minister for Water Resources Saifuddin Soz said that the Cabinet had short listed all the projects and schemes that fitted three criteria adopted by the government after careful consideration.

The clearance comes in the wake of Prof Soz making numerous announcements about taking up the national projects declaring them as 'National Rivers'.

All the projects that were governed by the international treaties having strategic importance and international ramifications had been listed for getting the grants under AIBP. These include Teesta Barrage construction across Teesta river in West Bengal, Bursar, Ujh Multi Purpose project in Jammu and Kashmir and Gyspa project in Himachal Pradesh across Chenab, Shahpur Kandi and Second Rabi Beas Link in Punjab across Ravi, with some of these projects being under the Indus Treaty but the potential unrealised so far.

The projects to be taken up on international rivers are Noa Dehang Dam and Siang river projects in Arunachal Pradesh, Kuisa Dam in Assam, all in the North-Eastern region.

Three Yamuna projects have also been cleared involving the consent of six riparian states. These are Lakvar Vyasi in Uttarakhand, Kishau in HP and Uttarakhand and Renuka drinking water and power project in Himachal Pradesh. Gosikhurd in Maharashtra and Ken-Betwa inter-link project in Madhya Pradesh are the only two national projects which are not Himalayan rivers.

The projects will not only provide irrigation potential of over 200,000 hectres but also generate power and provide water for drinking, he said.

The Government had given its 'in principle clearance' for these projects and the projects will be carried out by the states with the Steering Committee consisting of top officials from the Ministries of Water Resources, Power, Environment and Forests and the Planning Commission.

''We have strictly gone by the guidelines and if the states come with proposal that can fit into this category, we will be happy to include them,'' Prof Soz said, explaining the reason behind the leaving out the basins in the southern peninsula as Godavari, Krishna and Cauvery rivers were all under dispute or there is very little scope for developing the projects in these basins. "We may also consider any projects that may come up after the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal gives its clarificatory orders on its final report", he added.

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