Chief Ministers of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh signed a memorandum of agreement to implement the Ken Betwa Link Project (KBLP), the first project of the National Perspective Plan for interlinking of rivers.
The two states signed a tripartite agreement with the Centre on World Water Day (22nd March) to finally implement this ambitious project.
Q. What is Ken Betwa Link Project (KBLP)?
The Ken-Betwa Link Project (KBLP) is the River interlinking project that aims to transfer surplus water from the Ken river in MP to Betwa in UP to irrigate the drought-prone Bundelkhand region.
The region spread across the districts of two states mainly Jhansi, Banda, Lalitpur and Mahoba districts of UP and Tikamgarh, Panna and Chhatarpur districts of MP.
The project involves building a 77-metre tall and a 2-km wide Dhaudhan dam and a 230-km canal.
Ken-Betwa is one of the 30 river interlinking projects conceived across the country.
The project has been delayed due to political and environmental issues.
Q. What are the advantage of Interlinking of Rivers?
Reducing Drought: River linking will be a solution to recurring droughts in Bundelkhand region.
Farmers’ Benefit: It will curb the rate of farmers suicide and will ensure them stable livelihood by providing sustainable means of irrigation and reducing excessive dependence on groundwater.
Electricity Production: It will not only accelerate the water conservation by construction of a multipurpose dam but will also produce 103 MW of hydropower and will supply drinking water to 62 lakh people.
Rejuvenate Biodiversity: Few are of the view that the introduction of dams inside the water scarce regions of panna tiger reserve (MP), will rejuvenate the forests of the reserve that in turn will pave the way for Rich Biodiversity in the region.
Q. What are the issues in it?
Environmental: Because of certain environmental and wildlife conservation concerns like passing of the project though critical tiger habitat of panna tiger reserve, the project is stuck in for the approval from National Green Tribunal (NGT), and other higher authorities.
Economic: There is a huge economic cost attached with the project implementation and maintenance, which has been rising due to delays in project implementation.
Social: Reconstruction and rehabilitation caused due to displacement resulting from the implementation of the project will involve social cost as well.