Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has reiterated the demand of grant of national project status to the state’s ambitious East Rajasthan Canal Project (ERCP) to help provide drinking and irrigational water to the people of the desert state. The Chief Minister raised the issue again during a meeting with the Niti Ayog in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a virtual presentation.
The Chief Minister told the Prime Minister in the virtual meeting that Rajasthan had 10 per cent of the country’s land, while only one per cent of the country’s water was available to it.
“Rajasthan being a desert region, there is also a shortage of surface and groundwater. Due to the large distance between village hamlets as well as the heterogeneous geographical conditions, the cost of providing drinking water from house to house is much higher than other states. In view of this, the Central government should also provide the state assistance under the Jal Jeevan Mission like the hill states on a 90:10 formula,” Gehlot said.
He also reminded the Prime Minister that while addressing a rally in Jaipur on July 7, 2018 and in Ajmer on October 6, 2018, he had promised to declare the East Rajasthan Canal Project a national project of importance, but the same has not been executed.
The Rs 40,000 crore ERCP proposes to provide drinking water to 13 districts of Rajasthan and provide irrigation water for 2.8 lakh hectares of land through 26 different large and medium projects. Within Chambal basin, during the rainy season, Kunnu, Sui, Parbati, Kalisindh, Mej, and Chakhan sub-basins have surplus water while rivers like Banas, Banganaga and Gambhir are basins with deficit yield.
Under the project, the surplus water in the sub-basins of Kunnu, Kul, Parvati, Kalisindh and Mej rivers received during the monsoons is to be carried to the sub-basin of Banas, Morel, Banganga, Gambhir and Parbati rivers.
The project would ensure availability of sufficient water for drinking and irrigation till the year 2051 in Jhalawar, Baran, Kota, Bundi, Sawai Madhopur, Ajmer, Tonk, Jaipur, Dausa, Karauli, Bharatpur and Dholpur districts.
In a recent letter to Jal Shakti Ministry, the Water Resources department of Rajasthan pointed out that the status of National Project has been given to 16 projects in other states, but no project in Rajasthan has been given this status.
In a national project, the funding pattern is 90:10 but in ERCP it is 60 per cent by the Centre and 40 per cent by the state, said a senior department official.
In February last year, CM Ashok Gehlot had written to Jal Shakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat urging the grant of national project status for ERCP.
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