Govt may miss December 2020 deadline to clean Ganga river, says parliamentary panel
The panel also suggested that the government deploy Territorial Army battalions for conserving river Ganga from Uttarkhand to West Bengal.india Updated: Aug 11, 2017 00:06 IST
A parliamentary panel on Thursday expressed apprehension that due to slow pace of work, the government may miss the deadline of making river Ganga clean by 2020.
The Standing Committee on Water Resources, in its Demand for Grants (2017-18) for Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, asked the ministry to fast track the projects to ensure expeditious cleaning of the river.
The committee, in the report tabled in Parliament on Thursday, noted “with utmost concern” that so far only four sewage treatment plant (STP) projects -- two at Haridwar, one each at Varanasi and Mathura -- have been taken up.
It also noted that few more projects are expected to be taken up under hybrid annuity-based Public Private Partnership (PPP) model.
In this model, a part of the capital investment is paid by the government through construction-linked milestones and the balance through an annuity over the contract duration.
“Keeping in view the slow pace of work, the committee are constrained to believe that the targeted completion of cleaning of Ganga river by December 2020 may remain unaccomplished,” the panel said.
It also asked the ministry to apprise of the details of the total expenditure incurred by the National Mission for Clean Ganga so far and outcome achieved thereby.
Deploy territorial army
The panel also suggested that the government deploy Territorial Army battalions for conserving river Ganga from Uttarkhand to West Bengal.
In its report on ‘Resettlement of Ex-Servicemen’ the Parliamenary Standing Committee on Defence, stressed on the need to physically ensure protection of “revered” Ganga on its entire course.
“Nothing could be more efficient than the TA battalions raised for the protection of Ganga be deployed from Shivpuri in Uttarkhand to Ganga Sagar (in West Bengal),” the panel said.
The Indian Territorial Army (TA) is a second line of defence after the regular army. It comprises 10-15% of the regular soldiers, approximately 50% of them are ex-servicemen and the rest are recruited from local areas. The Ecological Task Force (ETF) battalions of the TA have been raised to execute specific environment-related projects, with military like culture, by enrolling ex-servicemen.