Map of Ganga
The enlarged map of Ganga river from Gangotri to Bay of Bengal
The mighty Ganga is not only the river but much more
to the millions for whom the Ganga is a symbol of faith, hope, substance and sanity. Therefore the Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh declared on November 4, 2008 that henceforth the Ganga would be known as India's 'national river'.
The Prime minister has also announced the proposal to set up a separate high powered Ganga River Basin Authority to stop its
pollution and degradation. Chaired by the Prime minister, the authority would have as the members the chief ministers of states
through which the river flows, besides working closely with ministers of water resources, environment and forests, urban
development and others as well as agencies working on river conservation and pollution management.
The first Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru wrote in his book "The Ganges, above all, is the river of India which has held Indias heart
captive and drawn uncounted millions to her banks since the dawn of history. The story of the Ganges, from her source to the sea, from old times to new, is the
story of Indias civilisation and culture, of the rise and fall of empires, of great and proud cities, of adventures of man."
The Ganga will be pure and free of pollutants by 2020, the Centre promised before the Supreme Court on October 23, 2010.
Without dwelling on the past when nearly 1,000 crore was spent under the failed Ganga Action Plan initiated in the late 1980s, attorney general G
E Vahanvati assured a Bench comprising Chief Justice S H Kapadia and Justices K S Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar that the National Ganga River Basin Authority
(NGRBA) headed by the prime minister would deal with river pollution in a comprehensive manner.
In a significant step on November 1, 2010, the government has given in-principle nod for declaring the 135-km stretch of the Ganga between Gaumukh and
Uttarkashi as an eco-sensitive zone seeking specific activities to protect the rich biodiversity of the region.
The National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) in its meeting held
on November 1, 2010 also approved discontinuation of 3 hydro projects,-Bhaironghati, Pala Maneri and NTPC's Loharinag Pala proposed on the river.
On April 28, 2011 the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the Project for cleaning of River Ganga to be implemented by the National Ganga River
Basin Authority (NGRBA) at an estimated cost of Rs. 7000 crore. The share of Government of India will be Rs 5100 crore and that of the State
Governments of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal will be Rs 1900 crore.
On June 28, 2011 Indian officials signed an agreement with the World Bank
to use a $1 billion loan to finance the first major new effort in more than 20 years to cleanse the revered Ganges, one of the world’s
dirtiest rivers. The long-awaited loan is part of a government project that aims to halt
the discharge of untreated wastewater into the river by 2020. The project, founded in 2009, replaced the 1986 Ganga Action Plan, the last
large-scale attempt to address the pollution. That initiative was able to introduce waste water treatment in certain areas, it failed to halt raw waste disposal into the Ganges.
The third meeting of the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) on April 17, 2012, which took place only under pressure from activists
and media, came a copper with no seemingly decisive action plan or even a date for the next meeting.
It was third meeting in the last three years.
A new rishi to save the Ganga
Ganga prisoner of power projects
Sundarbans the World's largest delta fast disappearing into sea