New Delhi:With the National Board for Wildlife giving clearance to the Centre’s Ken-Betwa river-linking project, receiving an environmental clearence for it will not be “difficult”, Union minister Uma Bharti said on Friday, expressing hope the work would start “soon”.
Speaking to reporters in the city, the Union water resources minister also urged Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik to allow initial study of link projects involving Mahanadi river, which passes through the state, to address water requirements of the state.
“We hope to receive environmental clearance too very soon (for the project) because the environmental clearance is subject to wildlife clearance. “Since, we have received wild life clearance, we will not face difficulties as such in procuring environmental clearance,” she said during a briefing on release of first tranche to states as central assistance for irrigation projects.
Bharti though said the clearance will happen only after new environment clearance committee is constituted. The term of the previous panel ended on 30 September. “So, we are awaiting its formation. All the terms and conditions for environmental clearance will be fulfilled. Launch of the Ken-Betwa river-link project will be announced anytime after that,” she added.
To a question on her trilateral meeting with Patnaik and Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh last month over dispute between the two states on sharing the river water, Bharti said a joint panel of the states is currently studying availability of water there. She added that telemetry system has been installed to monitor river flow in the two states.
The minister also urged Patnaik to give permission to conduct initial examination for Tista-Sankosh-Mahanadi- Godavari inter-linking projects. “I would like to urge Patnaik...Odisha is such a state which has both water and drought. I had gone to meet him to discuss the river-linking project. Odisha will only benefit from the project,” she stressed.
Meanwhile, Bharti refused to comment on a question over “honey trap” episode involving BJP Parliamentarian Varun Gandhi. “I had said at the beginning of the press conference that we will focus on the issue (of PMKYS). So, now it’s not honey, but matter of paani (water). Isme achhe achhe doob jate hai, aur achhe achhe nikal aate hai (the water issue is such even experts some times mess up),” she stated.