The Supreme Court on Monday gave the green signal to the much-awaited interlinking of rivers project and directed the Centre and all states to “contribute their bit” to save people living in drought-prone zones from hunger and also those facing destruction of their homes caused by floods.
“There shall be greater growth in agricultural and allied sectors, prosperity and stimulus to the economy potentially causing increase in per capita income, in addition to the short and long term benefits likely to accrue by such implementation. These would accrue if the expert recommendations are implemented properly and within a time frame,” the bench also comprising justices Swatanter Kumar and AK Patnaik said, observing the delay has already increased the project’s cost.
As per SC directions, the committee should comprise the minister of waters resources, representatives of other ministries and social activists. Senior advocate Ranjit Kumar who assisted the court in the case, too, is a member of the committee.
The special committee, it added, should meet once in two months and submit a bi-annual report on the status of the projects to the cabinet. Issuing a number of directions, the SC said the cabinet would take the final decision as expeditiously as possible, preferably within 30 days.
Directing the Centre and States to assist the committee for the project’s effective execution, the apex court gave liberty to Kumar to seek contempt action if the court directions were violated.
Since large sums have been spent on the preparation of initial and detailed project reports for the Ken-Betwa project, the SC directed the committee to take it up as its first assignment. If implemented, the project will benefit Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.