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No plans to take up inter-linking of rivers without consensus of States: Centre

Hyderabad: The Centre has no plans to take up inter-linking of rivers in the country, without the consent from the States involved. Further, the detailed project planning process will be taken up to ensure that there is no impact on the existing schemes for irrigation or drinking water supply in these States.

In response to questions raised in the Lok Sabha on Thursday, Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat stated that the draft Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) pertaining to five river linking projects including three components of the Godavari (Inchampalli)-Cauvery (Grand Anicut) link project, have been completed. These links projects are among the 30 link projects identified under the National Perspective Plan (NPP) prepared by the union government.

As envisaged under the NPP, Godavari River is to be augmented by transfer of surplus waters from Mahanadi and Brahmaputra basins, for further diversion of waters to Krishna, Pennar and Cauvery basins. Pending consensus on Mahanadi-Godavari and Godavari (Inchampalli)-Krishna link projects, alternative studies to divert surplus waters available in Godavari basin and unutilised waters in Indravati sub-basin of Godavari basin through Godavari-Cauvery link project were also carried out by National Water Development Agency (NWDA). This link project traverses through Godavari, Krishna, Pennar, Palar and Cauvery basins and lies in the States of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

The DPRs of Godavari (Inchampalli)-Cauvery(Grand Anicut) link project were prepared in consultation with the party States and circulated to them in April, 2021. However, the party States have raised concerns related to surplus waters availability in Godavari basin and quantum of allocation of waters to the States. Accordingly, the NWMA prepared a technical feasibility report (TFR) to recast the proposal limiting the trasnfer of water from 7,000 million cubic metres (MCM) to about 4,000 MCM from Godavari basin, in the interim phase, along with combining the proposal for supplementation in Krishna basin through Bedti-Varda link.

The Telangana government requested the NWDA to consider the Godavari-Krishna link phase only after the completion or at least active construction of Mahanadi-Godavari link of the interlinking of rivers project since surplus water is not available for diversion in Godavari at 75 per cent dependability. Further, the dam proposed by erstwhile Andhra Pradesh at Inchampalli for utilisation of Godavari waters in Telangana region, was strongly objected to by Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh due to submergence issues in their territories.