The NDA’s mission to clean the Ganges is likely to be backed by a new law, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi went into a huddle with chief ministers from five states through which the river flows to push for swifter implementation.
The decision on enacting a law was conveyed by the PM in a meeting of the National Ganga Basin Authority, in which Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, Uttarakhand CM Harish Rawat and Jharkhand CM Raghubar Das were present. The CMs of Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal skipped the meet.
“But what kind of punitive measures it should have or if it should have punitive measures at all will have to be discussed,” she said.
Bharati said the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) had said CMs who did not attend the meet could attend or send their notes for the meeting as no other representative on their behalf are allowed to participate.
Modi said the task of cleaning the Ganga was a challenging one and states and the Centre had to work in tandem. “It is our responsibility for future generations to save the Ganga.
The Ganga is associated with faith and devotion among millions of Indians, and the task was to convert these positive sentiments, into a feeling of responsibility. The task at hand could not be accomplished without Jan-Bhaagidaari (people’s participation),” a statement from the PMO said.
However, states have cited their own problems and an indication of it came when Uttarakhand called for more funds. Uttarakhand CM Harish Rawat said for operating sewage treatment plant, a 30% share from smaller state like his was not possible.
Bihar CM Nitish Kumar said he had been raising the issue of formulating a national silt management policy for several years and there was a need to give attention to it.