Supreme Court gives nod to interlinking rivers

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court Monday gave its nod for implementing the ambitious project to interlink India’s rivers, saying it was in the national interest. It also noted that the long delay in the execution of the project has already added to cost over-runs.

A bench of Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia, Justice A.K.Patnaik and Justice Swatanter Kumar also constituted a high-powered committee headed by the water resources minister to work out the roadmap for the project.

The committee appointed by the court includes the secretaries of the forest and water resources ministries, four experts from the water resources, finance, environment and forest ministries, and the Planning Commission. The committee will also have two social activists on it besides senior counsel Ranjit Kumar, who was amicus curiae in the matter before the court.

The committee will also have representatives of the state governments.

Stressing on the effective and time bound implementation of the project, the court said the committee will meet at least once in two months and its recommendations will be considered by the cabinet within 30 days of their receipt.

Pronouncing the judgment, Justice Swatanter Kumar said: “The project is in the national interest and we find no reason why any state or the centre would oppose this.” It should be implemented as expeditiously as possible, he added.

The project was conceived long back but received a boost in 2002 when Atal Bihari Vajpayee, as the prime minister, gave it a new thrust.