With the Madhya Pradesh Forest department yet to give its nod, the Centre's ambitious river interlinking project is likely to be delayed. While permission is reportedly secured in Uttar Pradesh, the Forest Department is yet to give its approval for the project area that falls in the state of Madhya Pradesh. A fresh proposal has reportedly been sent to the state''s Forest and Wildlife department after they had voiced concern over the earlier plan. Union Water Resources and River Development Minister Uma Bharti is hopeful that the project would commence by the end of this year, as was announced earlier. 'The river-linking programme is an ambitious project of the Narendra Modi government. I hope that the work would commence by end of this year with linking of the Ken and Betwa rivers,' she said. The project aims at providing irrigation to 60,000 hectares of agricultural land once completed. The large-scale project aims at reducing flood and water scarcity risks in the country by linking rivers through a network of reservoirs and canals.