River-link: court wants time frame for guidelines

The exercise will give an impetus to farming and economy

Updated - November 17, 2021 02:56 am IST

Published - February 28, 2012 01:19 am IST - NEW DELHI:

The Supreme Court, which directed the Centre on Monday to constitute a ‘special committee' for inter-linking of rivers, said there was unanimity among the authorities concerned on the exercise.

A Bench of Chief Justice S.J. Kapadia and Justices A.K. Patnaik and Swatanter Kumar, said: “It is clear that primarily there is unanimity among all authorities concerned, including the Centre and a majority of the State governments — with the exception of one or two — that implementation of river- linking will be very beneficial. In fact, the expert opinions convincingly dispel all other impressions. There shall be greater growth in the agricultural and allied sectors, prosperity and stimulus to the economy, potentially causing [an] increase in per capita income, in addition to the short- and long-term benefits…”

The Bench said that if the expert recommendations were implemented properly and within a time frame, there would hardly be any financial strain on the economy. “On the contrary, such implementation would help in the advancement of India's GDP and bring greater wealth and prosperity to the nation as a whole. We have no hesitation in observing that the national interest must take precedence over the interests of individual States. The State governments are expected to view national problems with a greater objectivity, rationality and a spirit of service to the nation, and ill-founded objections may result in greater harm, not only to the neighbouring States but also to the nation at large.”

The Bench therefore directed the committee to take firm steps and fix a definite time frame for laying down the guidelines for completion of feasibility or other reports and to ensure completion of projects, so that the benefits could be obtained in a reasonable time and cost.

The court directed the Central and State governments to participate in the programme and render all financial, administrative and executive help for completing these projects effectively. “It is evident from the record that the reports submitted by the [earlier] task force have not been acted upon. Thus, the entire effort put in by the task force has practically been of no use to the governments concerned, much less to the public. The task force has now been wound up. Let the reports of the task force also be placed before the committee which shall, without fail, take due note of the suggestions made therein and take decisions on how the same are to be implemented for the benefit of the public at large.”

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