Consensus on linking rivers

Scheme will help tackle drought, says PM

Published: Sunday 15 December 2002

the Union government appears to have accorded top priority to the scheme for inter-linking of India's rivers. Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee announced in the current parliament session that river networking was "a long-term, permanent solution to the recurring problem of drought". The proposal also received opposition leader Sonia Gandhi's endorsement.

To show that it means business, the government has decided to set up a high-level task force to consider the feasibility of interlinking the major river basins of the country.

Earlier, on November 13, Union minister of water resources Arjun Charan Sethi said the decision to set up the task force at the end of a parliamentary consultative committee meeting of the ministry. The body is being constituted as per the October 31 directive of the Supreme Court, which asked the centre to consider linking the country's rivers by 2012 (see: Down To Earth, Vol 11, No 13, November 30, 2002). The body would devise a suitable mechanism for bringing a consensus among states and prioritisation of projects.

The National Water Development Agency (nwda), under the Union ministry of water resources will provide guidance and technical know-how. The task force will comprise a group of ministers, project commissioner M K Sharma told Down To Earth.

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