Ministry of Jal Shakti Signs MoU for Modified PKC-ERCP Link Project

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PKC-ERCP-Link-Project-MOJS
Representatives from Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh Govt during the MoU Signing with Ministry of Jal Shakti, Government of India, for the Implementation of 'Modified PKC-ERCP' at New Delhi (Image Credits: pib.gov.in)

To develop the water management sector in India, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has recently been signed at New Delhi, for the interlinking of rivers (ILR) program. The MoU, signed by the states of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan with the Ministry of Jal Shakti (MoJS), Government of India (GoI), pertains to the implementation of the “Modified PKC-ERCP” – the second project under the national perspective plan of the ILR program.

The Ministry of Jal Shakti is entrusted with the crucial responsibility of formulating policy guidelines and programs for the comprehensive development, conservation, and management of water resources in India. Through its Department of Water Resources, River Development, and Ganga Rejuvenation (DoWR, RD & GR), the ministry oversees diverse aspects, including national water planning, inter-State and trans-boundary water issues, water laws, bilateral and multi-lateral cooperation, and water quality assessment.

The Ministry of Jal Shakti plays a pivotal role in addressing the water requirements of the country’s growing economy, emphasizing the judicious harnessing of the limited water resources. Its purview extends to the regulation and development of inter-State rivers, implementation of tribunal awards, technical guidance for irrigation and flood control projects, ground water management, and initiatives for river rejuvenation and pollution abatement.

With a comprehensive mandate, the ministry contributes significantly to ensuring sustainable water management and addressing water-related challenges across various domains.

The MoU signing between the states of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan with the Ministry of Jal Shakti (MoJS) took place on January 28, 2024, and was attended by key dignitaries, including Rajesh Kumar Rajora, ACS, WRD, Govt. of MP, Abhay Kumar, ACS, WRD, Govt. of Rajasthan, and Debashree Mukherjee, Secretary, DoWR, RD&GR, MoJS, GoI.

The Union Minister of Jal Shakti, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, along with Mohan Yadav, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, and Bhajan Lal Sharma, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Rajasthan, graced the occasion. Shriram Vedire, Chairman of the Task Force on Interlinking of Rivers, and other officials from MoJS and the states of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan were also present.

Led by Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, the intense consensus-building exercise by the Jal Shakti ministry over the past few years paved the way for the signing of this MoU. The achievement of consensus between the states of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh showcases effective inter-state cooperation under the leadership of the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, emphasizing the success of cooperative federalism in the country.

The project, “Modified PKC-ERCP,” involves the integration of the original Parbati-Kalisindh-Chambal (PKC) link with the Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project (ERCP). This initiative aligns with the national perspective plan of the ILR program and demonstrates the commitment to joint development and inter-basin water transfers in the Chambal basin, following the successful model of the Ken-Betwa Link Project.

The Feasibility Report (FR) for the PKC link project was prepared and circulated to the concerned State Governments in February 2004. In 2019, Rajasthan proposed the ERCP, leading to discussions about the integration of PKC with ERCP in the 11th and 12th meetings of the Task Force for Interlinking of Rivers (TFILR).

The proposal gained momentum, and in its 20th meeting held on December 13, 2022, the Special Committee for Interlinking of Rivers (SCILR) approved the “Modified PKC-ERCP” link as part of the National Perspective Plan and declared it a priority link project.

The Modified PKC link project aims to provide drinking and industrial water to 13 districts in eastern Rajasthan and the Malwa and Chambal regions of Madhya Pradesh. Additionally, it aims to facilitate irrigation in an extensive area, totalling 5.6 lakh hectares or more, and supplementing enroute tanks in the states. This project is expected to optimize and economically utilize the available water resources in the Chambal basin.

While the preparation of the Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the Modified PKC-ERCP link is already in progress, the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) is anticipated. The MoA would be finalized among the States of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and the Union Government.

The MoA would cover various aspects such as the scope of the work, sharing of water, exchange of water, sharing of costs and benefits, implementation mechanisms, and arrangements for the management and control of water in the Chambal basin. This agreement is expected to be signed by the Hon’ble Chief Ministers of both states and the Hon’ble Minister of Jal Shakti.

During the event, Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat urged both states to expedite the preparation of the DPR for various components to initiate the implementation of the link project at the earliest. This emphasis reflects the urgency and importance attached to the Modified PKC-ERCP link project, considering its potential impact on water availability, agriculture, and overall regional development. The signing of the MoU for the Modified PKC-ERCP link project represents a remarkable step in India’s water management sector. 

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