SC seeks report on interlinking of rivers

Last Updated: Monday, January 9, 2012 - 19:49

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday wanted to
know about the work done by the Centre on the project for
interlinking of rivers and asked the amicus curie to file a
short note on it.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia,
asked advocate Ranjit Kumar, who is assisting the court, to
file the report within a week.

Earlier, the apex court had said that it would not favour
interlinking of rivers if it causes huge a financial burden on
the Centre and asked for a report on its costs.

"My concern is only with what is the financial liability
of the project. We want to make it clear that we would not
pass order on it if it causes huge financial burden," the
bench had said.

The river interlinking project was the brainchild of the
NDA government and in October 2002, the then Prime Minister
Atal Bihari Vajpayee had formed a task force to get the
project going against the backdrop of the acute drought that
year.

The task force had submitted a report recommending
division of the project into two -- the Peninsular component
and the Himalayan component.

The Peninsular component -- involving the rivers in
southern India -- envisaged developing a `Southern Water Grid`
with 16 linkages. This component included diversion of the
surplus waters of the Mahanadi and Godavari to the Pennar,
Krishna, Vaigai and Cauvery.

The task force had also mooted the diversion of the
west-flowing rivers of Kerala and Karnataka to the east, the
interlinking of small rivers that flow along the west coast,
south of Tapi and north of Mumbai and interlinking of the
southern tributaries of the river Yamuna.

The Himalayan component envisaged building storage
reservoirs on the Ganga and the Brahmaputra and their main
tributaries both in India and Nepal in order to conserve the
waters during the monsoon for irrigation and generation of
hydro-power, besides checking floods.

The task force, appointed by the Vajpayee government, had
identified 14 links including Kosi-Ghagra, Kosi-Mech,
Ghagra-Yamuna, Gandak-Ganga, Yamuna-Rajasthan,
Rajasthan-Sabarmati, Sarda-Yamuna, Farakka-Sunderbans,
Brahmaputra-Ganga, Subernarekha-Mahanadi, and
Ganga-Damodar-Subernarekha.

The task force had also concluded that the linking of
the rivers in the country would raise the irrigation potential
to 160 million hectares for all types of crops by 2050,
compared to a maximum of about 140 million hectares that could
be generated through conventional sources of irrigation.

The fate of the ambitious Rs 5,00,000 crore project
proposing linkages between major rivers by the year 2016 has
remained a virtual non-starter and the detailed project
report (DPR) is in cold storage.

PTI



First Published: Monday, January 9, 2012 - 19:49

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