The following is the text of a resolution adopted by the Government of India on the setting up of the task force on the interlinking of rivers.
The Ministry of Water Resources (then known as Ministry of Irrigation) in the year 1980 formulated a National Perspective Plan for water resources development by transferring water from water surplus basins to water deficit basins/regions by inter-linking of rivers. The National Perspective Plan has two main components i.e. the Himalayan Rivers Development and Peninsular Rivers Development. The National Water Development Agency (NWDA) was set up as a Society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 in 1982 to carry out the detailed studies and detailed surveys and investigations and to prepare feasibility reports of the links under the National Perspective Plan.
NWDA has, after carrying out detailed studies, identified 30 links for preparation of feasibility reports and has prepared feasibility reports of 6 such links. The various basin States have expressed divergent views about the studies and feasibility reports prepared by NWDA. With a view to bringing about a consensus among the States and provide guidance on norms of appraisal of individual projects and modalities for project funding etc. the Central Government hereby sets up a Task Force.
The Task Force shall be as under:
Shri Suresh Prabhu, Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha, Chairman
Shri CC Patel, Vice-Chairman; and
Dr CD Thatte, Member-Secretary.
In addition to the above members of the Task Force, part-time members will also be nominated in consultation with the Chairman of the Task Force and with the approval of the Prime Minister. These part-time members will be as under:
a member from water deficit States
a person from water surplus States
a sociologist; and
a legal/world wildlife expert.
The terms of reference of the Task Force will be to:
Provide guidance on norms of appraisal of individual projects in respect of economic viability, socio-economic impacts, environmental impacts and preparation of resettlement plans;
Devise suitable mechanism for bringing about speedy consensus amongst the States;
Prioritize the different project components for preparation of Detailed Project Reports and implementation;
Propose suitable organizational structure for implementing the project;
Consider various modalities for project funding; and
Consider international dimensions that may be involved in some project components.
The Task Force shall have its headquarters in New Delhi and shall meet as and when necessary.
The terms and conditions for Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Member-Secretary and other Members shall be decided in due course.
The milestone/time table for achieving the goal of inter-linking of rivers by the end of 2016 is as given at Annexure.
The financial provisions of the Task Force will be regulated as under:
All the capital and revenue expenditure required to be incurred by the Task Force shall be borne by the Central Government through the grants-in-aid to National Water Development Agency; and
National Water Development Agency will account for expenditure of the Task Force as a part of its establishment expenditure and would provide such other secretarial/ministerial assistance as may be required. Audit of Controller General of Accounts and Comptroller and Auditor General of India would be incident on such expenditure in the same manner as it would be on National Water Development Agency's other usual expenditure.
Milestone dates/Time Table for interlinking of Rivers:
(i) Notification of the Task Force
(ii) Preparation of Action Plan-I, giving an outline of the time schedules for the completion of the feasibility studies, detailed project reports, estimated cost, implementation schedule, concrete benefits and advantages of the project, etc.
(iii) Preparation of Action Plan-II, giving alternative options for funding and execution of the project as also the suggested methods for cost recovery.
(iv) Meeting with the Chief Ministers to deliberate over the project and to elicit their cooperation.
(v) Completion of Feasibility Studies (already in progress).
(vi) Completion of Detailed Project Reports. (Preparation of DPRs will start simultaneously since FSs in respect of six river links have already been completed).
(vii) Implementation of the Project (10 years).