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Inter-Linking of Indian Rivers ‘A Top Priority,’ Says Water Resources Minister

May 19, 2016 (EIRNS)—In an interview with the BBC, reported today, India’s Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti said transferring water, including from major rivers like the Brahmaputra and the Ganges, to drought-prone areas, is now her government’s top priority.

"Interlinking of rivers is our prime agenda and we have got the people’s support, and I am determined to do it on the fast track," Bharti said.

"We are going ahead with five links [of the rivers] now and the first one, the Ken-Betwa link [in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh] is going to start any time now."

"And then we will have the Damanganga-Pinjal interlink, which will sort out the Mumbai drinking water facility." Bharti said the river-linking project would be the first in Indian history since independence in 1947, the Hans India reported.

India’s inter-linking of rivers to alleviate the water-short southern rivers has been on the table for decades. Northern Indian rivers, such as the Ganges and the Brahmaputra, which receive waters from the southern face of the Himalayas, have surplus water. Decades ago, plans were drafted to bring some of the surplus water to the water-starved southern peninsular rivers by inter-linking the rivers through canals. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his 2014 electoral campaign, had made it one of his targets, adding the use of these canals for water-transport of bulk materials.

According to Uma Bharti, the project will take 25-30 years to complete and will cost close to $400 billion.

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