Shri Harish Rawat today
took over as Union Minister of Water Resources. On his arrival at the
office of the Ministry of Water Resources in Shram Shakti Bhavan in New
Delhi, Shri Rawat was received by Secretary, Water Resources, Shri D.V.
Singh and other senior officers of the Ministry. Shri Singh briefed the
Minister about the functioning and priorities of the Ministry.
Later talking to Media persons, Shri Rawat said that his priority will
be to increase availability of water and promote its conservation.
Emphasizing that the water bodies in the States have to be preserved in
active coordination with the States, he said the Ministry of Water
Resources has formulated certain national projects which will be
implemented on priority basis with 90% Central assistance.
The Minister, while describing the situation of ground water in the
country as critical, said that there is a need to develop ground water
management mechanism to check its misuse. He underlined that in the 12th
Plan priority will be given to prevent misuse of ground water in the
country. Shri Rawat added that aquifer mapping being undertaken by the
Ministry would serve as an important tool in this direction by providing
information on availability of ground water to the people in their area.
The Minister informed that the draft legislation is ready for setting up
a permanent water disputes Tribunal to resolve the water related
disputes amongst States in an expeditious manner. Regarding inter-liking
of rivers, he said, the Government will pursue with the States on such
proposals. For this, he added, a conducive atmosphere has to be created.
Shri Rawat also said that a fresh date will be sought from the office of
the Prime Minister to convene the meeting of National Water Resources
Council to adopt the new National Water Policy and implement it in
consultation with the States. He also emphasized on achieving the
targets of National Water Mission during the 12th Plan particularly
increasing water efficiency by 20%.
Shri Rawat emphasized on making the functioning of the Ministry more
participatory and make people aware of judicious use of water.