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Wednesday, Feb 04, 2004

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Indira Gandhi canal project gets more funds

Our Bureau

New Delhi , Feb 3

THE Government has announced that water supply in Rajasthan would be augmented by accelerating work on the Indira Gandhi Canal and extending the Narmada Canal to the State.

"The Indira Gandhi Canal project has languished for decades, slowly inching its way, year after year, through the desert. Considering the inordinate delay in its completion and the critical importance of water in our desert areas, this canal project will, hereafter, be accelerated through a fresh Centre-State initiative, including additional, innovative funding," the Finance Minister, Mr Jaswant Singh, announced in the Interim Budget.

The over 2,000-km canal system is often described as the lifeline of the Thar desert. It originates in Punjab at the Hairke Barrage, a few km below the confluence of the Sutlej and Beas rivers and runs southwards up to Jaisalmer carrying Himalayan water to the desert State. The Centre will work with the Rajasthan Government for extension of the Narmada canal to the State and provide assistance for an early completion of the project, Mr Singh said.

The Centre has also decided to initiate an accelerated integrated drinking water supply scheme for mega-cities such as Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad

The Central infrastructure development scheme in the mega cities will be augmented by funds from the Infrastructure Fund, the Life Insurance Corporation and other such sources, he said.

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