Some of the most polluted rivers of the country are likely to be declared as 'National Rivers' to overcome multiplicity of authorities which had led to some ambitious river cleaning projects such as Ganga and Yamuna in the past.
Water being a state subject, the rivers fell under the purview of the States.
The move will facilitate Centre's direct intervention and monitoring of the project.
Despite the central funding of earlier river cleansing projects, the monitoring part had become a bone of contention between the Centre and the state concerned.
As a consequence, the desired results could not be achieved.
The proposal to devise the 'National Rivers' concept, being processed by the Central Water Commission, has reached an advanced stage. A key area of contention has been laying the criteria for rivers to be bracketed as the 'National rivers' which the panel is presently finalising.
Once decided, the proposal would be sent to the cabinet for the final nod.
The concept of 'National Rivers' came into being after Water Resources Minister Saif-u-din Soz received requests from states such as West Bengal, asking the Centre to take up cleanliness projects of some rivers as a central project.
Knowing the pit-falls of entertaining the individual requests, Soz directed the Ministry officials to formulate a national policy on the subject.
Half a dozen highly polluted rivers including Ganga, Yamuna, Krishna, Cauvery and Teesta are likely to figure in the first list, Ministry sources said.
Meanwhile, Soz said the Minsitry's Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme has started showing results. Out of the 200 projects receiving assistance under this scheme, 95 are likely to be completed by March 2007.
On the Ministry's initiative, the Cabinet has relaxed the AIBP criteria to bring more projects under its purview.
All the approved projects in drought prone and tribal areas and states with low irrigation development as compared to national average and districts identified under PM's package for agrarian distress would be covered under the programme.
Email Anil Anand: aanand @hindustantimes.com