Consensus on Mahanadi-Godavari interlinking in six months: Uma Bharati

Bhubaneswar/New Delhi: Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharati on Monday said a consensus on interlinking of Mahanadi and Godavari rivers will be reached in the next six months after the joint committee’s report is examined.

Bharati, who chaired the eighth meeting of the special committee for Inter-Linking of Rivers (ILR) in New Delhi, said she will discuss the project in detail with Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik after studying the committee’s report.

“When I had a discussion with the CM of Odisha, he accepted my suggestion that there should be a team comprising officials of the State and Central governments to discuss all the issues about Godavari-Mahanadi link. We decided that the report will be submitted within six months after which I will have a meeting with the CM and then we will reach a consensus on Mahanadi-Godavari link,” Bharati said.

Underlining the benefits of ILR, she said, “The interlinking of rivers is very important for enhancing water and food security of the country and would be very helpful in providing water to water-scarce, drought-prone and rain-fed farming areas. The Government of India is committed to implementing the interlinking programme with cooperation of the State governments. In its judgement in on 27 February 2012, the Supreme Court (SC) has held interlinking programme to be of national interest and has asked for its early implementation.”

Official sources said the Mahanadi-Godavari link, if established, would irrigate 4.43 lakh hectares of land, including 3.52 lakh hectares in the southern districts and generate about 445 MW electricity, besides controling flood.

The project proposes to divert Mahanadi water to Godavari through Nayagarh, Khurda, Ganjam and Gajapati districts by storing surplus water in a reservoir contemplated at Manibhadra near Nayagarh and four barrages at different places from where water finally flows into the Mahanadi.

Manibhadra reservoir will submerge 63,003 hectares of land, including 9,520 hectares of forest area, and affect around 79,000 persons, the sources added.