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Want exchange of ideas with states for river conservation: Uma Bharti

Union government would exchange ideas and plans on river conservation with states so that it can move forward to ensure river conservation across the country.

The Center plans to declare 2015-16 as Water Conservation year.

Union water resource, river development and Ganga rejuvenation minister Uma Bharti here said she had a long discussion with state chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and officials of the state in this regard.

“Narmada is free from industrial pollution and state government is working further on its conservation. As the Central government is rejuvenating Ganga, Madhya Pradesh is also making early plans to conserve Narmada.

Both would exchange ideas and plans on river conservation. I will hold similar discussions with almost states for similar purpose,” she said here adding, “We will observe 2015-16 as Water conservation year.”

She also hinted at Madhya Pradesh was likely to go ahead with its plan for Narmada Conservation as state would get fund of Rs 1,300 crore under National River Conservations Plan. The state already has invested a considerable amount from its own resources in the plan before Centre allocates it.

Two years ago Central government has already okayed the plan which was estimated at Rs 1,066 crore. Later, central government demanded a detail project report (DPR) in this regard which, according to a highly-placed state official, is yet not ready.

The Narmada Conservation plan which will cover construction and creation of necessary infrastructure like treatment plant for sewage etc. will receive 70% of the total fund from Centre while state will chip in 30% but it already has invested an amount of Rs 7,277.30 million in creating various infrastructures.

In first phase it had be sanctioned an amount 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.

However, Bharti denied giving any special package to Madhya Pradesh for Simhastha or other projects as of now.

“Madhya Pradesh has made tremendous progress in agriculture, increasing irrigation capacity and utilizing central government funds. The state should be adopted as a model state in terms of implementation of government projects. It does not need any special package,” she said.

Narmada river is the largest river in Madhya Pradesh that flows westward covering a distance of 1,320 km.

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