The Union Government was looking for funding from financial institutions for its Rs 60,000 crore project to link rivers Godavari and Cauvery, Union Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari said here on Friday.
The project, for which the plan has been prepared, will save about 1,200 tmc ft of Godavari water that drains into the sea and dramatically satisfy the irrigation needs of farmers in Tamil Nadu, he said.
"The plan for the project is ready and the government is looking for a loan of Rs 60,000 crore to executethe project," the minister said, addressing the sixth annual convocation at the National Institute of Technology at Karaikal, an enclave of the union territory of Puducherry.
The project envisages linking rivers Godavari-Krishna- Pennar-Cauvery.
The Minister had earlier said that the government would raise finances for the project either from the World Bank or the Asian Development Bank.
Gadkari, who gave away degrees to 104 B.Tech graduates, urged them to take up social impact projects solving various social challenges, making use of the locally available resources.
Citing the example of a project in Nagpur that converts sewage water, making it suitable for various purposes and has proved to be a highly profitable venture, he urged them to do research on alternative sources of energy.
"Both wastes and knowledge could be converted into abundant wealth through proper vision and leadership," he said.
Stating that the Centre was giving importance to develop institutions like IITs in the country, Gadkari said Indian engineers, who are doing very well across the globe, would be able to promote innovation in India.
He pointed out that Tamil Nadu has enormous human resources potential in technology and graduate engineers in the state could play a major role in research and innovation. Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy, Education Minister R Kamalakannan Karaikal NIT Director Sankaranarayanasamy participated in the convocation.
Earlier, Gadkari reviewed various national highways projects in Puducherry during his visit there.
He said the Chief Minister had placed before him some requests for development of highways and sought the Centre's clearance at the meeting.
"We have cleared most of the proposals put forward by the Chief Minister, except the one relating to the plea to declare State Highways here as national highways".
Gadkari said he had asked the Chief Minister to give him some time to consider this plea. The Chief Minister said he had urged the Union Minister to concede the government's plea to widen some arterial roads, construct bridges, build a four way lane between Madagadipet (on Puducherry Villupuram route) and also implement the Mahabalipuram-Puducherry highway, among other things.
Ninety percent of our proposals were accepted by the Central Minister', he said. Gadkari also paid homage at the memorials of Sri Aurobindo and his spiritual collaborator The Mother on the Ashram premises. He was accompanied by Puducherry Lt Governor Kiran Bedi during his visit.