Rs 15,000 cr to clean up Ganga
Even as the National Ganga River Basin Authority approved Rs 15,000 crore (Rs 150 billion) for the Clean Ganga Mission, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar described the proposed institutional framework of the Authority as “weak”. HT Correspondent reports.india Updated: Oct 06, 2009 01:17 IST
Even as the National Ganga River Basin Authority approved Rs 15,000 crore (Rs 150 billion) for the Clean Ganga Mission, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar described the proposed institutional framework of the Authority as “weak”.
The Authority, which has as members the chief ministers of five states through which the river flows, met for the first time on Monday under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Singh had constituted the Authority in February, a week after designating the Ganga as a national river.
The Authority decided that by 2020 no untreated sewage would be released into the river. Domestic sewage contributes 75 per cent of the total pollution of the river while the rest is caused by industrial effluents.
The 2,500-km-long Ganga is one of the most polluted rivers in the world despite the government having spent Rs 916 crore (Rs 9.16 billion) on cleaning it since 1985.
The Ganga river basin is the largest in India, constituting 26 per cent of the country’s land mass and supporting 43 per cent of its population. It has an average population density of 523 persons per sq km, making it one of the most congested river basins in the world. The basin has 230 cities and towns.
“While a comprehensive river basin management plan will be ready by December 2010, ongoing sewage treatment projects will be put on a fast track and states have been asked to formulate detailed project reports in critical pollution hotspots and major towns on the Ganga and major tributaries by November 30, 2009,” Environment and Forests Minister Jairam Ramesh told mediapersons.
Welcoming the mission mode approach, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar said the proposed institutional framework needs re-examination.
He wanted institutional structure and capacity building at the state level to ensure effective implementation of the projects. “There is no such provision at present,” he said.