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Rs 1,400 crore to implement Ken-Betwa river linking

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, presenting the Union Budget 2022-23 on Tuesday, said the government has earmarked Rs 1,400 crore for implementation of the Ken-Betwa Linking Project.

Under the project, water from the Ken river will be transferred to the Betwa river — both tributaries of river Yamuna. The project will cover Bundelkhand, a drought-prone region, which spreads across 13 districts of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Work for the project is expected to be completed in 8 years.

“The implementation of the Ken-Betwa Link Project at an estimated cost of Rs 44,605 crore will be taken up. This is aimed at providing irrigation benefits to 9.0 lakh hectare of land, drinking water supply to 62 lakh people, 103 MW of hydro [power], 27 MW of solar power. Allocations of Rs 4,300 crore in the RE 2021-22 and Rs 1,400 crore in 2022-23 have been made for this project,” Sitharaman said during her Budget speech in Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

The announcement was made just weeks before seven districts of Uttar Pradesh, which fall under the Bundelkhand region, are scheduled to vote in the third, four and fifth phases (February 20, 23 and 27) of Assembly elections.

The minister also said draft project reports for five other river links — Damanganga-Pinjal, Tapi-Narmada, Godavari-Krishna, Krishna-Pennar and Pennar-Kaveri — have been finalised. Once a consensus is reached among the beneficiary states, the Centre will provide support for their implementation, she said.

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Separately, Sitharaman said the government has increased the budget allocation for the Jal Jeevan Mission to Rs 60,000 crore from the previous fiscal year’s Rs 50,000 crore. The initiative aims to provide safe drinking water through tap connections to households.

“Current coverage of Har Ghar, Nal Se Jal is 8.7 crore (households). Of this, 5.5 crore households were provided tap water in last 2 years itself. Allocation of Rs 60,000 crore has been made with an aim to cover 3.8 crore households in 2022-23,” she said.

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In the current fiscal year (2021-22) the budget estimate (BE) of the initiative was Rs 50,000 crore, but the Finance Ministry reduced allocation to Rs 45,011 crore in revised estimates (RE).

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