The Ken-Betwa river linking project has been approved by the Union Cabinet. The project will be completed in eight years and would require Rs 44,605 crores.
The project has been conceived under National Perspective Plan for interlinking of rivers and will be the first project under it.
The project involves transfer of water from the Ken river to the Betwa River. Both the rivers are tributaries of Yamuna.
A 221 Km long link canal between the river Ken and Betwa will be constructed, including a 2-km long tunnel.
The governments of Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Ministry of Jal Shakti had signed the agreement to implement the Ken-Betwa Link Project (KBLP) in March 2021.
Concept of river-linking
The first idea of river linking was implemented in 1895 when water from Periyar basin was transferred to Vaigai basin.
Other projects include Parambikulam Aliyar, Kurnool Cudappah Canal, Telugu Ganga Project, and Ravi-Beas-Sutlej project.
The National Perspective Plan for water resources development was conceived for inter-basin water transfer.
The Himalayan Rivers Development; and Peninsular Rivers Development are the two components under the plan.
Currently, 30 river links have been identified by the National Water Development Agency (NWDA). Out of this, 16 are under peninsular component and 14 are under Himalayan Component.
Daudhan Dam along with Low Level Tunnel, High Level Tunnel, Ken-Betwa Link Canal and power houses will be constructed in the first phase.
The Lower Orr Dam, Bina Complex Project and Kotha Barrage will all be constructed under the Phase II of the project.
The project would provide annual irrigation of 10.62 lakh hectares, supply drinking water to about 62 lakh people, and generate 103 MW of hydropower and 27 MW of solar power.
A Special Purpose Vehicle known as Ken-Betwa Link Project Authority (KBLPA) will be set up to implement the project.
An independent autonomous body, National Interlinking of Rivers Authority (NIRA), for planning, investigation, financing and implementation of the interlinking of river (ILR) projects in the country will be set up.
The KBLP was declared a National Project when a detailed project report was made in 2008. It was included under Prime Minister’s package for development of drought-prone Bundelkhand region.
Drought-prone Bundelkhand region will be benefitted from the project. The region covers 13 districts across Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
Districts of Madhya Pradesh such as Panna, Tikamgarh, Chhatarpur, Sagar, Damoh, Datia, Vidisha, Shivpuri and Raisen will be benefitted. Banda, Mahoba, Jhansi and Lalitpur of Uttar Pradesh will also receive advantages.
The construction of Daudhan dam will submerge 9000 ha area, out of which 5803 ha comes under Panna Tiger Reserve.
Wildlife Institute of India is currently working on Landscape Management Plan to decide mitigation strategy.