New Delhi: The deadlock between Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh over the ambitious Ken-Betwa river interlinking project has been resolved, Union minister Nitin Gadkari said on Wednesday.

India’s first interlinking of rivers project between the Ken in Madhya Pradesh and the Betwa in Uttar Pradesh ran into trouble after the BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh demanded tweaking of the phase-I plan of the ambitious project.

“I am happy to tell you that two days back chief ministers of six states came to my office (with different issues)," the water resources minister said at a conference here. Gadkari further said that an issue between Gujarat and Maharashtra has also been resolved, without elaborating.

He did not mention the other two states. “Madhya Pradesh aur Uttar Pradesh ka jhagda tha Ken-Betwa (project) ka. Jhagda nipat gaya. Agreement ho raha hai, ab kaam shuru ho jaega," he said. (There was a dispute between Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh on Ken-Betwa. The dispute has been resolved and the agreement is being framed. Now the work will begin.) The issue which had been stretching for years was resolved in hours, said the minister who also holds the road transport and highways portfolio.

There is a need to fast-track decision making process in a transparent manner, Gadkari said adding that the (Union) government has resolved to end the deadlock between the (state) governments over the long-stalled river interlinking project.

In case of Ken-Betwa, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) had to step in to resolve the deadlock between the water resources ministry and Madhya Pradesh. The project includes construction of a dam across river Ken in Chhatarpur district in Madhya Pradesh to irrigate 6.35 lakh hectares of land.

The Madhya Pradesh government had written to the Centre demanding a review of the water-sharing pact signed in 2005 between MP, UP and the Union water resources ministry, and inclusion of some new components in the Rs16,000 crore phase-I plan.

Uma Bharati, the former water resources minister, had said in Parliament earlier this year that the project would take off soon, and expressed unhappiness over this last minute demand from the MP government.

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