Centre has directed to stop the work on the proposed Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project (ERCP) in view of “lack of consent” by other States.
What is the Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project (ERCP)?
- The Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project aims to harvest surplus water available during the rainy season in rivers in southern Rajasthan such as Chambal and its tributaries including Kunnu, Parvati, Kalisindh and use this water in south-eastern districts of the state where there is a scarcity of water for drinking and irrigation.
- According to the state Water Resources Department, Rajasthan, the largest state of India with a geographical area of 342.52 lakh hectares which amount to 10.4 per cent of the entire country, holds only 1.16 per cent of India’s surface water and 1.72 per cent of groundwater.
- Among the state’s water bodies, only the Chambal river basin has surplus water but this water cannot be tapped directly because the area around the Kota barrage is designated as a crocodile sanctuary.
- Through the help of diversion structures, intra-basin water transfers, linking channels and construction of pumping main feeder channels, the ERCP aims to create a network of water channels which will cover 23.67 per cent area of Rajasthan along with 41.13 per cent population of the state.
- Rajasthan has been demanding the national project status for ERCP for quite some time.
What will be the benefits estimated in the project?
- According to the Rajasthan Water Resources Department, ERCP is estimated to create an additional command area of 2 lakh hectares and an area of 4.31 lakh hectare will get irrigation facilities because of this project.
- The ERCP also intends to improve the groundwater table in rural areas of the state, positively influencing the socio-economic conditions of people from these areas.
- It also adds special emphasis on the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC), hoping that sustainable water sources will enhance and help industries grow in these areas resulting in investment and revenue. There are multiple sub-projects under the ERCP with budgets allocated for each phase.