Jaipur, Aug. 19: The river-linking project of the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government will start in Rajasthan this year-end by interlinking three rivers in the Chambal basin.
The task force for the project has reportedly identified Parvati, Kalisindh and Chambal rivers for the first phase of the project.
The objective of the project is to link major rivers of the country to channel river waters to deficient areas.
Thirty schemes, 14 in the north and 16 in the peninsular region, have been identified as part of the project to be executed over the next 40 years.
Phase-I will also include a canal connecting Ken and Betua rivers in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
Linking the three rivers in the Chambal basin covering the eastern part of the desert state will irrigate several lakh hectares of land in Kota, Baran and Jhalawar districts. It will also add to the drinking water resources in the region bordering Madhya Pradesh.
The second phase of the project area in Rajasthan will include, among other things, bringing water from the Indo-Tibetan border to the Thar Desert. The water will first be brought to Uttar Pradesh through a Yamuna-Sharda link. A 502-km canal will drain this water into the Sukeri river in the Thar.
Rajasthan will get 5.4 billion cubic metre of drinking water.
The canal would irrigate about 2.44 lakh hectares in the districts of Hanumangarh, Bikaner, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer.
Work on the Yamuna-Rajasthan link is scheduled to begin in March 2006.
A 767-km link between Sukeri and Sabarmati rivers in Gujarat would be constructed in the final stage. This link would irrigate 5.35 lakh hectares in the Thar with 3,638 million cubic metre of water.
Another 102 million cubic metre of water would be available for drinking and other domestic purposes, sources said.
Rajasthan government wants the Centre to complete the River-Linking Project in the state by 2005.