Terming effective harvesting and conservation of rainwater lasting solutions for the country’s water-scarcity problems, Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Water Resources, said that the Union government would resolve all the issues to make interlinking of rivers a reality.
He was addressing a public meeting after laying the foundation stones for five National Highway improvement works of the State Public Works Department covering a length of 177 km with an estimated at a cost of ₹1,500 crore here on Tuesday. He also dedicated 145 kms of the four-lane National Highway stretch that connected North Karnataka with Telangana to the nation, which was built at a cost of ₹1544.18 crore.
“Interlinking of rivers helps harvest rainwater effectively and provides a solution to our water scarcity woes. Our government is committed to water conservation and resolving inter-State water disputes,” he said, adding that the mega Polavaram irrigation project on the Godavari would be completed by March 2019.
On the proposed Godavari-Krishna-Cauvery linking, Mr. Gadkari said that around 3,000 tmc of water from the Godavari that would flow into the sea during the monsoon could be utilised if the rivers were linked.
“The plan is to link the rivers so as to facilitate the diversion of flood waters from the Godavari to Krishna to Pennar and to Cauvery. Initially, about 300 tmc of water would be diverted from the Godavari to the Polavaram project in Andhra Pradesh through the Nagarjuna Sagar dam and then to the Krishna. Further, the water would be diverted to the Somasila dam on the Pennar, and thereon to the Grand Anicut dam on the Cauvery. The project will help Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka,” he said.
Mr. Gadkari claimed that his government had provided sufficient funds to expand the National Highway network in the State. “Total National Highway connectivity has increased from 6,707 km to 13,565 km in the last three-and-a-half years. Around ₹40,000 crore has been sanctioned for the ongoing projects in Karnataka. The Centre would allocate ₹50,000 crore for new road projects including Bengaluru-Hyderabad Express Highway and Bengaluru-Amaravati Highway. The expanded highway connectivity would boost the economic development of the State,” he said.