UPA abandons Ganga, squanders Rs 170 crore
New Delhi, November 21, 2013: On June 19, 2013 the Ministry of Environment and Forest
(MoEF) sanctioned Rs 170 crore through National Ganga River Basin Authority while approving a project for
developing the riverfront of the Ganga at Patna. The Bihar Government
would contribute another Rs 72 crore. Believe it or not Rs.89 crore would go towards developing 20 /ghat/s excluding Gulvi/ ghat/ that would
consume another Rs 7.5 crore. Another Rs 87 crore towards building promenades and kiosks.
River beautification and riverfront development are municipal-level
projects with no bearing on the mission to clean the Ganga. Such projects are taking up a lionís share of central funds
meant for cleaning Ganga. On August 29, 2011 Varanasi got Rs 19 crore from
the Union Government for development of its ghats.
Previously in January 27, 2010 Bansberia a little-known town in West Bengal, got Rs 12 crore plus towards the
development of 15 ghats. Two days later Rs 14 crore was sanctioned for
upgrading Rabindranath Tagoreís Memorial Garden and expansion of Nimtola
Burning Ghat in Kolkata. On February 2, 2010, Rs 6.20 crore was given by
MoEF as 70 per cent of the cost of developing the riverfront in Howrah
The first three days of February, 2010 saw Rs. 35 crore riverfront development projects approved for townships in West Bengal. On February
22, 2011 the Centre provided Rs 26 crore to four more townships of West
Bengal Ė for riverfront development. On September 7, 2011 the neighbouring towns got Rs 20 crore more for the same purpose.
Majority of the projects completed by National Ganga River Basin
Authority pertain to riverfront development. Most of these are in West
Bengal. There seems little effort to salvage the Ganga on its most polluted stretch in Uttar Pradesh especially between Kanpur and
Patna. In April, 2011 sewage treatment worth Rs 94 lakh was approved
for Farrukhabad Rs 2.20 crore for Patna and Rs 1.38 crore for Allahabad
Lesser priority is assigned to essentials than non-essentials, giving
lie to the UPA Governmentís claims of pursuing clean Ganga mission
To keep the Ganga clean it is necessary to maintain the optimal water
flow in the river. But the policy of erecting big dams in the eco-sensitive zone of Uttarakhand has resulted in stifling the flow of
the Ganga. The diminished flow of Ganga is hardly conducive to keeping
the river clean. But only Rs 5.68 lakhs was sanctioned to IIT-Roorkee for studying the cumulative impact of Hydro Power Projects
in Bhagirathi and Alaknanda Basin.
On June 19, 2013 the Central Pollution Control Board was also given Rs
163 crore in two slots for strengthening the environmental regulator and
monitoring water quality for the Ganga. Source:niticentral.com