Do not implement Ken-Betwa project: Sonia Gandhi writes to Prakash Javadekar
New Delhi, Apr 10: In a recent development, Congress president Sonia Gandhi has written to Union environment minister Prakash Javadekar, asking him not to implement the Ken-Betwa river linking project.
In her letter dated April 2, Sonia Gandhi allegedly claimed that over the past decade, the Panna tiger reserve has been revived with great difficulties and now the park is considered an outstanding example of translocation and successful breeding.
"It is now threatened by the river linking project and the state government's open estimate is that around 40 per cent of the area of the tiger reserve will be irretrievably damaged," Sonia Gandhi wrote, pointing that around 18 lakh trees would be removed from the submergence area.
"I request you to ensure that this project in its present shape and form does not get implemented. I gather PILs are pending both in the NGT and the Supreme Court. Many conservationists in Madhya Pradesh and indeed from across the country have called for the abandonment of the project," she wrote.
Earlier, Union jal shakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat signed a tripartite agreement with the states of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh on the occasion of World Water Day to start the work on India's first major river interlinking project that will connect the Ken and the Betwa Rivers.
The Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) was signed almost 18 years after the idea of the project was conceived owing to disagreement between the two states over sharing of water. Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said the project will help in irrigating at least 1 million hectares of land and people of nine districts of the state will benefit from it.
A 73.8-meter-high dam proposed on Ken at Daudhan in Madhya Pradesh's Chhattarpur district. Both of the rivers are rain-fed and are tributaries of the Yamuna. The project has an estimated cost of Rs 35,111.24 crore.