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Ken-Betwa Link Project

Focus: GS III- Environment

Why in News?

A comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study for the proposed Ken Betwa Link Project (KBLP) has been carried out to identify positive and negative impacts of the project on physical, biological and socio-economic environment. It is estimated that total submergence due to Daudhan reservoir shall be about 9,000 ha, spreading over 4,141 ha of Panna Tiger Reserve (PTR) core, 1,314 ha of PTR buffer and 10 villages. About 1,913 families will be affected in these 10 villages.

Interlinking of Rivers

  • In 1858, Arthur Cotton (British general and irrigation Engineer) came up with even more ambitious proposals such as connecting all major rivers of India, and interlinking of canals and rivers. He suggested drought-relief measures for Odisha.
  • The National River Linking Project (NRLP) formally known as the National Perspective Plan, envisages the transfer of water from water ‘surplus’ basins where there is flooding, to water ‘deficit’ basins where there is drought/scarcity, through inter-basin water transfer projects.
  • The interlinking of river project is a Civil Engineering project, which aims to connect Indian rivers through reservoirs and canals.
  • The farmers will not have to depend on the monsoon for cultivation and also the excess or lack of water can be overcome during flood or drought.
  • Since the 1980s, the interlinking project has been managed by India’s National Water Development Agency (NWDA) under the Ministry of Water Resources.
  • It has been split into three parts as follows:
    • A northern Himalayan river interlink component.
    • A southern peninsular component.
    • An Intra-State river linking component.

As of now, six ILR projects have been under examination of the authorities:

  • Ken-Betwa,
  • Damanganga- Pinjal,
  • Par-Tapi-Narmada,
  • Manas-Sankosh-Teesta-Ganga,
  • Mahanadi-Godavari and
  • Godavari-Cauvery (Grand Anicut)
  • With regard to the peninsular rivers, the Centre has chosen to focus on the Godavari-Cauvery link.

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.
  • KBRIL is a river-interlinking project that aims to transfer surplus water from the Ken river in Madhya Pradesh to Betwa in Uttar Pradesh to irrigate the drought-prone Bundelkhand region.
  • Both Ken and Betwa are the tributaries of the Yamuna.
  • The Ken-Betwa Link Canal will be 221 km long, including a 2-km long tunnel.
A Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for the project
  • According to the statement, a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) called Ken-Betwa Link Project Authority (KBLPA) will be set up to implement the project.
  • In fact, the Centre has set in motion the process of creation of National Interlinking of Rivers Authority (NIRA), an independent autonomous body for planning, investigation, financing and implementation of the interlinking of river (ILR) projects in the country.
  • The NIRA will have powers to set up SPV for individual link projects.

Which regions will benefit from the Ken-Betwa Link Project?

  • The 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, especially the districts of Panna, Tikamgarh, Chhatarpur, Sagar, Damoh, Datia, Vidisha, Shivpuri and Raisen of Madhya Pradesh, and Banda, Mahoba, Jhansi and Lalitpur of Uttar Pradesh.
  • “It will pave the way for more interlinking of river projects to ensure that scarcity of water does not become an inhibitor for development in the country,” the Ministry said in a statement.
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September 2022
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