India is seeking long-term, low-cost funds for the ambitious river linking project aimed at fixing water woes confronting large swatches of the country, Union minister Nitin Gadkari said in a discussion at the Hindustan Times-Mint Asia Leadership Summit on Friday.
The government’s target of doubling the income of farmers by 2022, Gadkari stressed, cannot be achieved without effective water management. Apart from enhancing river connectivity, the project is aimed at improving drip and pipe irrigation to reduce water wastage.The project envisages linking almost 60 rivers to cut the dependence of Indian farmers on annual monsoon rainfall by irrigating croplands
“The cost of the project is Rs 8 lakh crores and five of the proposals are ready with me and I am waiting for tender. The cost of these projects is Rs 3 lakh crores and for these projects, I need long term finance,” said Gadkari, the minister of road transport and highways, shipping and water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation.
“Two days ago, I was in South Korea, now I am discussing with Japan and we need low-cost interest because it is an infrastructure and irrigation project. This is going to triple the use of water and it can be a very important project for India,” the minister said.