Interlinking Of Rivers: Opportunities and Challenges: Ken Betwa Project

On the occasion of World Water Day, a memorandum of agreement was signed between Union Minister of Jal Shakti and the chief ministers of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh to implement the Ken-Betwa Link Project (KBLP).

       The Ken-Betwa Link Project is the first project under the National Perspective Plan for interlinking of rivers. Under this project, water from the Ken river will be transferred to the Betwa river. Both these rivers are tributaries of river Yamuna.

According to the Union Jal Shakti Ministry, the project is expected to provide annual irrigation of 10.62 lakh hectares, drinking water supply to about 62 lakh people and also generate 103 MW of hydropower.

                      BENEFITS OF INTERLINKING OF RIVERS

  • Farmers will be in gain as there will be no dependence on monsoon for agricultural processes.
  • The problems of floods and droughts would be tackled nationwide. The water of the river which causes flood can be transferred to the area where there is a problem of drought at the same time.
  • Social problems like deforestation, low water availability and no irrigation facilities are taken seriously through the interlinking of rivers.
  • The Below Poverty Line  population  will have equal accesseto  drinkable water. Many poor farmers will be able to use their lands if they are not using due to irrigation crisis.

                               IMPEDIMENTS/ CHALLENGES

  • If the natural flow of rivers faces any kind of human intervention then it is always destructive. The construction of canals, reservoirs, dams to complete the project is very deteriorating for nearby vegetation and natural habitat.
  • The problem of human displacement is another concern.
  • Risk factor is very high both economically and socially. State water disputes will lead to social unrest. But the development process always causes threats to the environment. 

Climate Change Global warming has impacted rainfall pattern and water stress states are increasing. While pursuing with this idea the government should factor in Environment social cost of the project and coordination with state government and civil society.

Alternatively the Government should also focusses on Rainwater Harvesting and conservation of water resources; recharging of ground water reservoirs.

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