Tuesday, Dec 17, 2002
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By Gargi Parsai
Former Secretary, Water Resources, C.C. Patel, has been appointed the Vice-Chairman and another former Water Resources Secretary, C.B. Thatte, will be the Member-Secretary. The appointments have been made by the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) in consultation with the Water Resources Ministry.
It is learnt that the Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani, declined a suggestion to head the task force which will oversee 30 river links over the next 10 years at an estimated cost of Rs 5,60,000 crores.
Besides these members, the Chairman, with the approval of the Prime Minister, will appoint part-time members, including one from the water deficit States, one from the water surplus States, an economist, a sociologist and a legal/wildlife expert.
However, there is no provision for people's representatives on the task force to take up the interests of those who will be displaced and the riverine civilisations that will be uprooted.
The main agenda of the task force is to bring about a consensus among States on the plan to interlink rivers, to provide guidance on the norms of apprisal of individual projects and work out the modalities for project funding.
The National Water Development Agency (NWDA), a society under the Ministry of Water Resources, will assist the task force and provide the logistic support.
The Ministry seems to have been left out and there is no clarity yet on who will hold the purse strings. "It is being worked out,'' said Ministry sources.
However, the PMO had worked out a "Milestone Dates/Time Table'' and set the agenda for the Ministry and the Task Force, according to which by December 16, the task force would be notified and by December 12, 2016, the project would be implemented.
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