Foreign Affairs

Indian SC orders implementation of river linking project

Link to the Supreme Court’s Judgement :

NEW DELHI, FEB 28, 2012 –

India’s plan to interlink rivers, which had earlier drawn serious concerns from the region including Nepal and Bangladesh, now seems to have got a new lease of life with the recent decision of the country’s apex court.

The Indian Supreme Court on Monday ordered the central government to implement the project, which was announced in 2002 by the erstwhile government to link the major rivers in the region.

Bangladesh, a lower riparian country, has been very vocal against India’s plan, which also includes the diversion of the Ganges and the Brahmaputra, as it fears that such a project could leave its areas dry.

Though a formal version from Nepal has not emerged so far on the issue, environmentalists and activists in the country have expressed concerns of ecological disaster and severe ramifications on the Nepali side.

“Though India’s plan says that the reservoirs of water that flows from Nepal will be built on Indian soil, it does not seem feasible. Ultimately, reservoirs have to be built in Nepali parts, which could result in inundation and of course, serious environmental ramifications in the Nepali areas,” one Nepali water expert said, requesting anonymity.

The court has also directed the Indian government to set up a panel to spearhead the implementation of the project.

This multi- million dollar project announced by the then Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee has literally been a dead issue over a decade due to differing views in the country and reservations from neighboring nations.

This piece originally appeared on Feb 29, 2012 issue of The Kathmandu Post. Here is the link.