Apex court okays interlinking of rivers

Arun S New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on February 27, 2012

The court has appointed a high-powered panel to chart out and monitor implementation of the project.

The Supreme Court on Monday gave its go ahead for the project on inter-linking of rivers and asked the Government to ensure that it is implemented expeditiously and effectively.

The over $100 billion (over Rs 5 lakh crore) project was to link around 30 rivers. It is to ensure flood control and equitable distribution of water by efficient transfer of water from surplus to deficit areas. It was also aimed at increasing the area under irrigation, hydro-electric generation and water supply.

The apex court said the project was in the national interest. A Bench headed by the Chief Justice of India Mr S H Kapadia appointed a committee to frame guidelines for the implementation of the project and to make sure that it is put into operation in a time-bound manner.

The court noted that there was a delay in the project leading to a cost over-run. It also directed the Centre and the concerned state governments to take part in the project’s effective implementation.

The court said that there should be a meeting of the committee at least once in two months. The panel’s suggestions should be considered by the Cabinet within 30 days of its receipt.

The committee is to include the Union Water Resources Minister, the Secretaries in the Ministries of Water Resources and Environment and Forests, four expert members chosen by the Finance, Water Resources and Environment and Forest Ministries and Planning Commission apart from two social activists, state Government representatives and senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, who has been assisting the court in the case.

The project had got a boost during the NDA government. The then Prime Minister Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee had in October, 2002 constituted a task force to kick start the project following a severe drought then.

The task force then suggested the project be split into the Himalayan component (with 14 linkages) and the Peninsular component (with 16 linkages).

The Himalayan component included linking the Brahmaputra and Ganga and constructing reservoirs to check floods, generate hydro power, store up water and provide additional irrigation to more land. The Peninsular component was to develop a ‘Southern Water Grid’. This included linking of Krishna, Cauvery, Mahanadi and Godavari by canals.

The project was to be completed by 2016, but it was delayed due to various reasons.

Published on February 27, 2012
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