In news: The ambitious Kosi-Mechi project, secured the approval from the Union ministry of environment, forest and climate change (MoEFCC). 

  • The river Kosi is an international river originating from Tibet and flowing through Nepal in Himalayan Mountains and the lower portion through plains of North Bihar
  • To overcome the acute problem of shifting of course of Kosi river, heavy sediment load, flooding etc. and to alleviate the severe suffering of the people of Bihar, the Government of Nepal and the Government of India signed an agreement in 1954 for implementation of Kosi project. 

About kosi- Mechi Project:

  1. It is the country’s second major river interlinking project after Ken-Betwa of Madhya Pradesh. 
  2. This interlinking project envisages diversion of part of surplus water of Kosi river through existing Hanuman Nagar barrage to the Mahananda basin
  3. Mechi is an important tributary of the Mahananda river. Its basin however remains mostly deficient in providing adequate water for irrigation. 
  4. It is a green project as it involves no displacement of population and there is no acquisition of any forestland.No National Park, Wildlife Sanctuary, Eco Sensitive areas, etc. are present within 10 km radius of the project.  
  5. The aim of extension of EKMC upto Mechi River is mainly to provide irrigation benefits to the water scarce Mahananda basin command in the districts of Araria, Kishanganj, Purnia and Katihar during kharif season depending upon the pondage available in Hanuman Nagar barrage. 

Under the National Perspective Plan (NPP) prepared by the ministry of water resources, National Water Development Agency (NWDA) has already identified 14 links under Himalayan Rivers component and 16 links under Peninsular Rivers component for inter basin transfer of water based on field surveys and investigation and detailed studies.

The National River Linking Project (NRLP) formally known as the National Perspective Plan, envisages the transfer of water from water ‘surplus’ basins where there is flooding to water ‘deficit’ basins where there is drought/scarcity, through inter-basin water transfer projects. 

Scope of the project: 

  1. Projects in the himalayan component: Himalayan Rivers Development Component under which 14 links have been identified. This component aims to construct storage reservoirs on the Ganga and Brahmaputra rivers, as well as their tributaries in India and Nepal. 
  2. Peninsular Rivers Development Component or the Southern Water Grid, which includes 16 links that propose to connect the rivers of South India. It envisages linking the Mahanadi and Godavari to feed the Krishna, Pennar, Cauvery, and Vaigai rivers. 

The National Perspective Plan (NPP) was prepared by the Ministry of Irrigation in 1980 for transferring water from water surplus basins to water-deficit basins. Under the NPP, the National Water Development Agency (NWDA) identified 30 links (16 under Peninsular Component & 14 under Himalayan Component) for preparation of Feasibility Reports (FRs). 


  • On the lines of India’s first Interlinking of rivers project, the Ken-Betwa project in MP, Bihar’s Kosi-Mechi Interlinking project is believed by experts to have all necessary ingredients (such as ensuring an irrigation command area of two lakh hectares or more) to qualify for a ‘National Project’ status. 
  • A National Project status for this venture will mean that the majority of funding support gets borne by the Centre instead of putting strain on the State resources.