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Govt to unveil 285 new irrigation projects by 2018

Union Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation Minister Nitin Gadkari at the inaugural session of the India Water Week-2017 in New Delhi on October 10, 2017. (Source: PIB)

New Delhi : Union Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, Road Transport & Highways and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari has said that as many as 285 new projects will be taken up to provide irrigation for 1,88,00,000 hectare of land by next year and 27 PMKSY (Prime Minister Krishi Sinchayee Yojana) projects will be completed by this year-end.

The Government's focus is to save large amount of water and also cut down the cost involved in acquiring land, said Gadkari.

Drip irrigation and irrigation through pipeline would be the priority area for the Government, he said.

The Government is keen to provide safe drinking water to every household and irrigation water for every farm. In this regard, Gadkari referred to the recent inauguration of Sardar Sarovar Project by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The project in Gujarat will provide water to over 4 crore people and help irrigate over 8,00,000 hectares of land.

In his address during the inaugural session of the India Water Week-2017, Gadkari underlined that the Government's grand scheme of inter-linking of rivers was very important to save people from floods and droughts.

While 30 projects for river linking have been approved, work on three projects namely Ken-Betwa, Par-Tapi Narmada and Daman-Ganga- Pinjal will begin within next three months, he said, adding that the Government was exploring the possibility of creating a large fund for inter-liking of rivers.

Stressing on the need to find new ways to augment water supply, Gadkari said new ways have to be found for use of treated wastewater.

The Union Water Resources Minister said he has requested the Union Power Minister to explore the possibility of using recycled water for NTPC power plants.

Also, there was an urgent need for inventing innovative methods for using 70 per cent of river water that goes into seas.

Referring to Pancheswar project, Gadkari said the Union Ministry Water Resources Secretary will soon visit Nepal to sort out pending issues. He expressed the hope that work on the project will start soon.

Gadkari urged the gathering and experts to come up with suggestions on water-related issues and hoped that some good suggestions would come out from the deliberations and discussion during India Water Week-2017.

In her address, Union Minister for Drinking & Water Sanitation Uma Bharti said the Government was sincerely working to make available safe drinking water to every household of the country and irrigation facility to every farm by 2022.

It is a matter of grave concern that groundwater level is going down critically. We have misused and abused groundwater. We will have to respect water, rivers and groundwater and make our rivers aviral and nirmal", she added.

Union Minister of State for Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation Arjun Ram Meghwal said water and energy are two crucial resources, whose conservation and optimum utilisation was essential for inclusive growth of a nation.

As many as 112 districts in the country have less than 20% per cent irrigation coverage and time bound actions are needed to meet the challenges of water scarcity and flood management, Meghwal said, adding that the the Centre has proposed National Ground Water Management improvement scheme, a World Bank-backed Rs 6,000 crore programme for sustainable management of groundwater in India.

Union Minister of State for Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation Dr Satyapal Singh hoped that specific focussed sessions on the basic issues of water and energy will be highly beneficial for policy maker and the nation.

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