While, the Madhya Pradesh government is seeking more funds for Narmada conservation under National River Conservation Plan, it has already started investing its own resources in creating infrastructure at local towns developed on the banks of the river.
Earlier, during October 2012, the Central government had okayed a plan of Rs 1,066 crore for Narmada conservation but with a condition of submission of detail project report (DPR) in this regard. The DPR is yet not ready.
“Now all 54 towns need nearly Rs 1,300 crore but the central government has demanded a DPR in this regard. The DPR will be ready soon,” a well-placed government source said, “but we have already started investing funds from own sources.”
The Central government will contribute 70% of the total amount while state will chip in 30% in the plan which will be completed in two phases. The plan will cover 54 towns situated in either side of the banks of Narmada. The plan is expected to be completed in 10 years.
Earlier, the Central government had okayed a fund of Rs 1,066 crore with a breakup of Rs 578.29 crore to cover 24 towns on a 10-km strip on the either side of the river while the second phase consisted Rs 487.57 crore to cover 30 towns of 50 km stretch. The then Union minister for Environment and Forests Jayanti Natarajan had asked the state government to prepare a detailed project report.
The cities which required to be covered under the plan are: Amarkantak, Dindori, Mandla, Bhedaghat, Hoshangabad, Budni, Omkareshwar, Mandleshwar and Maheshwar.
“The main task is to treat the water before it goes in the river,” the source said.
The Narmada, known as the main artery of the state flows westward covering a distance of 1,312 kilometer. It rises near Amarkantak range of mountains and is the 5th largest river in the country that traverses Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat and drains into Gulf of Khambat.