Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Maharashtra and Gujarat have signed an agreement to prepare project reports on linking of rivers that will benefit both.

Watched by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed on Monday by Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, his Gujarat counterpart Narendra Modi and Minister for Water Resources Pawan Kumar Bansal.

The States agreed to prepare Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) of the Damanganga–Pinjal Link Project and Par-Tapi-Narmada Link Project.

Dr. Singh appreciated the efforts of the two States in displaying a spirit of “accommodation and sincerity.” He hoped the DPR would be prepared in time.

“Water resources projects, including inter-basin transfer, play an important role in mitigating imbalances of water availability and the likely adverse impacts of climate change,” he said.

The Par-Tapi-Narmada link will mainly benefit Gujarat, while the Damanganga-Pinjal link will help Maharashtra. The former envisages transfer of the surplus waters from the west-flowing rivers north of Damanganga up to Tapi in north Gujarat.

The scheme, though mainly located in southern Gujarat, will cover part of areas north of Mumbai on the Western Ghats in Maharashtra.

Officials said the link project comprises seven reservoirs on these rivers and a 395-km-long link canal.

It is proposed to use the diverted waters to irrigate parts of Valsad, Navsari, Dang, Surat, Bharuch, and Vadodara besides the drought-prone Saurashtra and Kutch.

The DPR of the Ken-Betwa river link between Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh is being finalised to incorporate the suggestions made by the party States, the officials said.