As part of its first trans-country river-linking project, Indian government is approaching Nepal to bring surplus water from the Sharda river, also known as the Mahakali, on the border with Nepal to the Yamuna near Delhi, The Hindustan Times reports.
Quoting secretary of water resources UP Singh, the report says that proposal has been cleared by a committee of secretaries and a request has been sent to the MEA (ministry of external affairs) to initiate a dialogue with Nepal.
According to the report, the committee of secretaries met to discuss the terms of negotiations with Nepal on the 540MW Pancheshwar multi-purpose hydro-electric project. The project, conceived in 1981, made progress under the Modi government when Nepal was ruled by the Nepali Congress. Concerns have surrounded the project under a Communist alliance that came to power in Kathmandu last month.
India is waiting for the newly-elected Nepalese government to settle down before bringing the proposal to the table again, the HT report says.
The proposed Sharda-Yamuna interlinking project is aimed at bringing surplus water from Sharda to Yamuna via Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh. The project is designed to be a lifeline for the Yamuna to ensure uninterrupted flow of water in Delhi. Water from the link is likely to also benefit Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan.
In a question tabled in Parliament on March 15, the government said the proposed Yamuna-Rajasthan link and Rajasthan-Sabarmati link also depends on the Sharda-Yamuna link.
A final report on the proposed Sharda-Yamuna interlinking project was prepared by the National Water Development Agency way back in 2003. On the basis of the balance water available at the tail-end of the link, detailed project reports for subsequent connecting links with Rajasthan and Sabarmati were also prepared.
The project is part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious plan of interlinking 31 rivers and divert surplus water to arid areas.
According to the experts the cleanliness of the Yamuna as well as the development of the river banks will depend on the flow of water into the river.