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Rs 587 crore not enough to clean Ganga

DESPITE HUGE expenditure of Rs 587.63 crore incurred on cleaning Ganga under the Ganga Action Plan (GAP), only 39 per cent of the work has been carried out so far.

india Updated: Jan 06, 2006 00:16 IST

DESPITE HUGE expenditure of Rs 587.63 crore incurred on cleaning Ganga under the Ganga Action Plan (GAP), only 39 per cent of the work has been carried out so far.

The audit report released recently here pulled up the Central Tribunal for Ganga for not even utilizing the sanctioned fund of Rs 655.23 crore. Only Rs 587.63 was shown as spent by the concerned States in the report. Nearly, Rs 36.07 crore was spent on unnecessary heads while expenditure of 6.75 crore had been presented incorrectly by the department concerned, the report further states.

Besides, the audit report has raised several points as a result the GAP has so far proved to be a flop. The department failed to develop the necessary infrastructure since the plan was executed . The objective of having clean Ganga has not been achieved even in the second phase of GAP which ended in 2001.

It may be recalled that the Ganga Action Plan was launched in 1986. The main objective of the project was to improve the water quality of river Ganga using a multi-pronged strategy which was to be financed with Central assistance. The Action Plan envisaged interception and diversion of waste water reaching the Ganga and installation of sewage treatment plants to treat sewage water before its release into river.

It also included other pollution control measures such as solid waste management, installation of crematoria, river front development and provisions of low cost sanitation facilities. The Plan laid emphasis on public awareness and its participation to keep the Ganga clean.

The GAP had been taken up in two phases with an allocation of Rs. 462.04 crore made for the utilization by the participating States, namely, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal. The GAP Phase-I ended on 31.3.2000.

Ironically in the second phase only 13.7 per cent work was completed till 2001.

Even the situation in West Bengal and Bihar was reported apathetic during the second phase because no concrete work was executed in the said phase.

By and large, the progress of the GAP has not been satisfactory. However, there have been some delays in respect of some schemes particularly, the installation of sewage treatment plants and pumping stations due to hurdles in land acquisition, court cases, poor response from tenders, adverse law and order situation.

As a result, the schemes suffered cost escalation.

First Published: Jan 06, 2006 00:16 IST