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Centre’s Namami Gange programme hits Mamata roadblock

West Bengal government has refused to attend meetings to discuss riverfront development projects in the state under the Centre’s flagship programme.

india Updated: May 03, 2017 09:19 IST
Moushumi Das Gupta
Moushumi Das Gupta
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Namami Gange,Ganga,Water Resources Ministry
The West Bengal government has apparently refused to cooperate in projects related to the Namami Gange programme.(HT File)

Namami Gange — the Narendra Modi government’s ambitious programme to clean and rejuvenate the river Ganga — is the latest central scheme to hit the roadblock in Mamata Banejee’s West Bengal.

Union water resources minister Uma Bharati has said her patience is wearing thin with the West Bengal government’s refusal to attend meetings to discuss riverfront development projects in the state under the Centre’s flagship programme.

“They (state government) have a very strange attitude. They don’t come for any meetings. I am writing to the West Bengal CM to at least send somebody for the meetings. Three projects in the state — riverfront development of Gangasagar, Belur and Dakshineswar — are very important to me,” Bharti said.

Work has not started in any of these projects so far because of non-cooperation by the state government.

The Trinamool government has put a spanner to other ministry initiatives too.

The state government has not agreed to come on board for the Centre’s ambitious project to link the Manas-Sankaosh-Teesta-Ganga rivers to provide benefits of irrigation, drinking water and flood control to Assam, West Bengal and Bihar.

Despite several letters by Bharati to the state CM soliciting her support, Banerjee has opposed the project saying it will adversely affect the state’s interest.

Banerjee’s opposition was also the main reason behind the Centre failing to ink the Teesta water sharing agreement with Bangladesh during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit last month.

Besides the ministry’s programme, the Trinamool government has also pulled out of some crucial urban infrastructure projects of the Centre such as smart cities mission.

The state government pulled out New Town Kolkata, one of the cities chosen to be made “smart” under the programme.

Banerjee has openly criticised the Smart Cities project and said it will promote “inequitable development”.

The state also pulled out of the Swachhata Survekshan, a survey that ranks cities on the basis of cleanliness, the results of which will be declared on May 4.

West Bengal is one of the few states that has not yet framed rules under the landmark Real Estate (Regulation &Development) Act, 2016 that came into force across India on May 1.

First Published: May 03, 2017 09:19 IST