Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday said work on three river-linking projects including Ken-Betwa and 150 other schemes for a pollution-free Ganga will begin in the next three months.
“There are 30 such schemes of around Rs 5 lakh crore. Work in all the three schemes will begin within three months. It will also solve the problem of floods and the issue of water scarcity. It will also help the farmers in agricultural irrigation,” the Road Transport and Highways Minister said at the 112th annual session of the PHD Chamber of Commerce.
Gadkari also said work on the schemes — Daman Ganga with Pinjal (which is in Gujarat and Maharashtra) and the Par Tapi-Narmada link and the Ken Betwa Project — worth Rs 80,000 crore will start in the next three months.
“There are about 97 projects for pollution-free Ganga, of which 90 have been approved. Seven projects are yet to be awarded,” said Gadkari, who is also the Minister of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.
“Moreover, there are 55 other projects, which are stalled. These projects will also be made functional by March financing so that Ganga becomes pollution-free,” he said.
“All the 150 projects will begin by three months, latest by March. There is a lot of pollution in Ganga in bigger cities like Kanpur and Mathura,” said Gadkari.
He also said that in the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana, 99 irrigation projects will be completed by December next year and will start in the next three months.
“More than 285 projects are in the pipeline. Through this project, about 1 crore 88 lakh hectare land in the country will be brought under water. The water which passed through canal, would now go through a pipeline. The central government investment will be about Rs. 1.5 lakh crore,” he added.
Gadkari said he has settled water disputes between Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat and was trying his best to solve the dispute between Punjab and Haryana.
“In our country, 70 per cent of river water goes waste and is guzzled by the seas. There are six rivers between India and Pakistan, we have rights over three rivers and they have rights over three. We cannot let our rivers flow into Pakistan due to the dispute between the states over rivers.”
Gadkari said: “Policy decisions are being finalized to run bikes and even tractors including heavy vehicles on bio-ethanol generated from resources including rice and wheat stubble.
“Efforts are also being made to make landing arrangements for aeroplanes and smaller aircraft on water bodies that can also take off and land on surface,” said Gadkari.