New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday directed
the Centre to implement the ambitious interlinking of rivers
project in a time-bound manner and appointed a high-powered
committee for its planning and implementation.
Observing that the project has already been delayed
resulting in an increase in its cost, a three-judge bench
headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia said the Centre and the
concerned state governments should participate for its
"effective" implementation "in a time bound manner".
The bench, also comprising justices Swatanter Kumar and
A K Patnaik, appointed a high-powered committee comprising of
representatives of various government departments, ministries,
experts and social activists to chart out and execute the
The committee will be comprising of Union Minister of
Water Resources, its secretary, Secretary of Ministry of
Environment and Forest (MoEF) and four expert members
appointed by Water Resources Ministry, Finance Ministry,
Planning Commission and MoEF.
Representatives from state governments, two social
activists and senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, who has been
assisting the court in the case, will also be members of the
"We direct the Union of India to forthwith constitute a
committee for interlinking of rivers," the bench said, adding
"we direct the committee to implement the project".
"The committee shall plan for implementation of the
project," the bench said, adding the delay has already
resulted in an increase in the cost of the project.
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