Centre allays concerns over river linking

Allaying Karnataka’s apprehension about losing its share of water after the proposed interlinking of rivers in Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna, Pennar, Cauvery, Vaigai, Gundar basins, the Centre has said it will revise the existing water balance study reports and discuss with the states before preparing a detailed project report.

Union Water Resources Ministry special secretary Amarjit Singh Singh, in his letter to Karnataka, has also said that sharing of additional water of Mahanadi and Godavari among states, including Karnataka, will be decided keeping in view the provisions of the existing water dispute tribunal awards of Godavari and Krishna basins.

While agreeing with Karnataka’s contention that the interlinking of rivers should be based on equitable water sharing, the ministry said if the State had any unresolved issues on this subject, it could approach the Centre seeking relief.

The ministry’s reply came after Karnataka sought clarification on its share in the event of implementing the proposed project. In a recent meeting on interlinking rivers, convened by Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharati, Karnataka Water Resources Minister M B Patil had said that the State was promised 283 tmc feet of water in a year from proposed project in 1980, but in 2000, in the revised estimate, Karnataka’s share was abolished completely.

Expressing his shock over the removal of the share, the minister had sought clarification on the subject. Karnataka also urged the Centre not to take any decision on the subject unilaterally.  On the State’s request to keep Almatti-Pennar link out of the project, the ministry said the issue would be referred to a sub-committee of the National Water Development Agency in the Ministry of Water Resources, for system studies for identification of the most appropriate alternative plan and Karnataka will be invited for present its views.

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