With the Supreme Court asking the Centre to constitute a committee for inter-linking of rivers, the government on Thursday said the issue was high on its agenda but maintained that it cannot move ahead before taking States on board as water is a State subject.

“As far as the question of inter-linking is concerned, the government is seized of the matter and it is a priority for us. When it comes to the feasibility reports, these were prepared because the government is eager to do it,” Water Resources Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal told PTI in New Delhi.

But at the same time, Mr. Bansal stressed that water being a State subject, the Centre cannot move further without taking the States on board.

“It is a very difficult project. It is a difficult task to arrive at a consensus among States. They are reluctant to get into an immediate agreement on sharing of water. Also water is a State subject and we cannot impose anything on anyone.

“But we try to work, try to take the concerned States on board. Wherever there is a possibility on those linkages, we try to take them on board,” he said.

He said, out of 30 possible links identified, five projects were flagged as priority projects.

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