Jharkhand seeks Odisha approval

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Jharkhand seeks Odisha approval

Tuesday, 22 October 2019 | PNS | BHUBANESWAR

In a move to secure water for the State, the Jharkhand Government has requested its Odisha counterpart to give its consent for intra-linking its river South Koel with river Subarnarekha.

While the Government of India is harping on inter linking of rivers (ILR), several State Governments are trying for intra-linking the rivers inside and outside the States.

The Jharkhand Government wants to intra-link of three rivers Sankh, South Koel and Barakar. Besides, it has planned to link South Koel with Subarnarekha and Barakar with Subarnrekha as well. Barakar is the tributary of river Damodar and it will be linked with Subarnarakha river.

Under this backdrop, the Jharkhand Government has requested cooperation of the Odisha Government for intra linking South Koel And Barakar-Damodar with Subarnarekha.

Similarly as Damodar is flowing in West Bengal, it has requested cooperation of the West Bengal Government also.

However, it will be difficult for the Odisha Government to agree with such proposal, feel experts. The Subarnarekha is covering 80 km in Baleswar district before meeting the sea at Talsari.

But the river is not surplus in water and the basin of the Subarnarekha is smaller than most multi-State river basins in India.

The rain-fed river covers a drainage area of 18,951 square kilometres in Jharkhand, West Bengal and Odisha.

And the State Government is going ahead with an all-weather port of Subarnarekha on it.

Unless the Odisha Government provides the consent, the Jharkhand Government would not be able to prepare a Detailed Project Report (DPR) on intra State link of rivers, said sources. And most importantly, funding for intra State linking of rivers is not included in funding proposition of inter linking of rivers (ILR) national project.

The ILR projects are funded 60:40 basis and the Government of India is yet to say yes for Central funding for intra State linking. So, funding is a huge problem and with 60:40 ratio, the State Governments are showing reluctance for going for ILR Projects.

Accordingly, the Ministry of Jal Shakti is moving with a proposal for 90:10 ratio of funding pattern for ILR.

The Ministry has formulated a National Perspective Plan (NPP) for Water Resources Development envisaging inter-basin transfer of water from surplus basins to deficit basins/areas. The National Water Development Agency (NWDA) has identified 30 links under the NPP.

Funding pattern of 90:10 would be proposed under NPP, said sources.

Meanwhile, constitution of National Interlinking of Rivers Authority (NIRA) is being considered and a Bill for setting up the NIRA has been prepared.

Once the NIRA will be in place, ILR would gain momentum, said official sources.

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