The 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 'national river' of India.
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
National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) 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.
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.
In the Uttarakhand Himalayas where glacial water flowing from a cave at Gaumukh, is the origin of the Bhagirathi river. Gaumukh
has been described as a desolate place at an altitude of about 4,000 meters (13,000 feet). Twenty-three kilometers from Gaumukh, the river reaches Gangotri, the first town on its path.
The river which joins the Alaknanda river at Devaprayag, also in the Uttarakhand Himalayas, to form the Ganga. The Ganga then flows through the Himalayan valleys and emerges into the
north Indian plain at the town of Haridwar.
Recent pictures taken by Google Earth via satellite have confirmed that an eight-km stretch of the Bhagirathi
river has dried up. The river is shown snaking through the Himalayan mountains as one long, sandy stretch minus any water. Other rivers emanating from the Gangotri glacier, including the Bhilangana, the
Assi Ganga and the Alaknanda, all tributaries of the Ganga river, are drying up.
Since the river Ganga (Bhagirathi) is still emanating from the ice cave (Gaumukh) of Gangotri Glacier, no steps are required to be taken at present for bringing back the flow of
river Ganga. As far as the recession of the glacier is concerned it is a part of natural phenomena and cannot be stopped by using short term artificial measures.
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Thousands of visitors come to Gangotri each year, from every part of the world. Gangotri is situated at a
height of more than 10,000 feet in Uttarkashi district, is one of the four shrines of Badrinath, Kedarnath and Yamunotri in Uttrakhand
commonly called Himalayan Char Dham .
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