The change of power in Rajasthan has paved the way for 13 districts in eastern Rajasthan, as the process of granting national status to the Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project (ERCP) gains momentum. An MoU signing between Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and the central government is expected in January to initiate the project.
On Wednesday, on the instructions of Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Secretary Debashree Mukherjee called an important meeting of officials from Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Officials from the Central Water Commission and the National Water Development Agency were also present.
What is Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project?
The draft of the MoU, based on the revised plan of the ERCP-Parvati-Kalisindh-Chambal Link Project, was discussed in detail and finalized in the meeting. According to official sources, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and the central governments will sign the MoU in January.
This link project will provide drinking water to the residents of 13 districts of Eastern Rajasthan and ensure water supply to industrial areas. Additionally, 2.8 lakh hectares in the Malwa and Chambal region of Madhya Pradesh will be irrigated. The DPR of the revised plan is expected to be prepared by March next year.
The national status of the project will reduce the financial burden on Rajasthan by up to 90 percent.
ERCP was major electoral issue
The ERCP was a significant election issue in Rajasthan, with the Congress government advocating for national status for the ₹37,000 crore project initiated by the Vasundhara Raje government during 2013-2018.
Congress claimed that PM Narendra Modi had promised to declare ERCP a national project in the 2018 election but took no action. However, the issue didn't work in favor of Congress, as it lost more than 50 out of 83 assembly constituencies in these 13 districts.
On the other hand, Union Minister Shekhawat had promised that this project would be implemented on priority once the BJP government is formed in Rajasthan. Shekhawat also included the ERCP-PKC link project in the five priority works. With the BJP government in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and at the Centre, the people of 13 districts in Eastern Rajasthan may hope to get water soon."