Issue of Inter-Linking of Rivers in India

The National Perspective Plan (NPP) was prepared by the then Ministry of Irrigation, now Ministry of Water Resources, RD & GR for water resources development through inter basin transfer of water, for transferring water from water surplus basins to water-deficit basins.

Under the NPP, the National Water Development Agency (NWDA) has identified 30 links (16 under Peninsular Component & 14 under Himalayan Component) for preparation of Feasibility Reports.

The pre-feasibility report of the all 30 links have been prepared and circulated to the concerned State Governments by the NWDA. After survey and investigations, Feasibility Reports of 14 links under Peninsular Component and Feasibility Reports of 2 links and draft Feasibility Reports of 7 links (Indian portion) under Himalayan Component have been completed.

Four priority links under Peninsular Rivers Component have been identified for preparation of Detailed Project Reports (DPR) viz; Ken-Betwa Link, Phase –I & II, Damanganga-Pinjal Link, Par-Tapi-Narmada link and Mahanadi-Godavari link. The preparation of DPR of a project is taken up only after consent of concerned State Governments.

Based on the concurrence of the concerned States, DPRs of Ken-Betwa link project Phase-I & Phase-II, Damanganga-Pinjal link and Par-Tapi-Narmada link have been completed. The techno-economic clearance and various statutory clearances of the Ken-Betwa link project Phase-I have been accorded.

The techno-economic clearance of the Damanganga-Pinjal link project has also been accorded subject to statutory clearances. The DPR of Par-Tapi-Narmada link is under technical appraisal in the Central Water Commission.

The implementation of Inter linking of Rivers (ILR) projects involves various steps such as preparation of Pre-feasibility Reports(PFRs) /Feasibility Reports (FRs) of links, negotiation and consensus among concerned States, agreement with neighboring countries if link involves area lying in those countries, preparation of DPRs of the projects, clearance from appraisal agencies which includes clearance by Ministry of Environment & Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) and Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA), techno-economic clearance by Advisory Committee on Irrigation, Flood Control & Multipurpose Projects of MoWR, RD & GR, investment clearance and the construction time required for the completion of the project as per the DPR.

The stage of implementation of a project would be reached after its DPR is prepared with the consensus of concerned States and the requisite statutory clearances are obtained. Thus the implementation of the projects will take varying periods of time.

No State except Kerala is opposing the Interlinking of Rivers (ILR) Programme. Further Kerala Government is opposing only Pamba-Achankovil-Vaippar link which concerns the State.

Interlinking of Rivers (ILR) programme has been taken up on high priority. The Government is pursuing the ILR program in a consultative manner.

As directed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court vide its judgment dated 27.02.2012 in the Writ Petition (Civil) No. 512 of 2002 on ‘Networking of Rivers’ alongwith Writ Petition No. 668 of 2002 a committee called “Special Committee on Interlinking of Rivers” vide Gazette Notification dated 23rd September, 2014 has been constituted.

The Special Committee on Interlinking of Rivers chaired by Hon’ble Union Minister (WR, RD & GR) as per the direction of the Hon’ble Supreme Court is expediting the progress and effective implementation in the ILR projects. Thirteen meetings of the Special Committee for ILR have been held so far and the last meeting was held on July 27, 2017 at New Delhi.

Views and observations on the ILR programme have been received from various State Govts, experts and other stakeholders in the meetings of the Special Committee for Interlinking of Rivers (ILR). The Special Committee would consider all such observations appropriately while planning and formulating the ILR projects.

The Committee, after considering the views of all the stakeholders, is proceeding ahead to expedite the objectives of the interlinking of rivers as per terms of reference. Vigorous efforts have been taken up for generating consensus with development of alternative plans and also setting out road maps for implementation of mature projects.