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Multiple initiatives dot Ganga rejuvenation plan

Jun 08, 2018

The Indian government has introduced several steps to protect Ganges but coordination among them is vital for delivering results.

New Delhi: River Ganga is the lifeline of India, however, there is an increase in water pollution due to industrial activities, throwing of wastes such as plastic. Religious practises such as bathing, cremation, immersion of deities during festivals have added to the increasing woes of the river.

After coming to power in 2014, the incumbent NDA government set up the National Mission for Cleaning Ganga which was started in October 2016 as a part of the River Ganga (Rejuvenation, Protection, Management) Authorities Order 2016.

The main aim of the initiative, chaired by cabinet minister Nitin Gadkari was to ensure cleaning and rejuvenation of the river which involves reconstruction of Ghats.  The river is a vital resource that flows through five states starting from the north Indian state of Uttarakhand and ending at Gangasagar in the east Indian state of West Bengal.

Praharis (dedicated volunteers) in these states have played an important role in the cleanliness drive. A leading Indian newspaper reported that about 427 Ganga Praharis including fishermen, boatmen, students and teachers are using various means of ensuring cleanliness of the river.

According to the report some of these volunteers have established fishing nets next to the Ghats to ensure that the garbage does not flow into the river. The report adds that students mop up the ghats and clean it before the arrival of dawn.

The fishermen, too, have been removing polythene on a regular basis by pulling and taking them out from rivers.

The Namami Gange programme has been allotted Rs 20,000 crore which focusses on biodiversity protection, repairing and cleansing of Ghats, public awareness, promotion of afforestation.

The project in order to enhance the sewerage treatment capacity in the five states, sixty-three sewerage projects are being implemented and twelve projects have been launched in these states.

Also, two hybrid projects are being initiated under the public-private partnership for areas like to Haridwar, Varanasi, Ramanna, Jagjitpur .The implementation of the programmes have been divided into three categories which are Entry Level (for an early impact), Medium Activities (implementation within 5 years.), Long term (should be within 10 years of the time period).

The NGP project also focuses on setting up twenty-eight river front development projects. Public awareness is being spread through activities such as workshops, seminars and conferences.

Other activities include rallies, campaigns, exhibitions, competitions, plantation drives. Many articles ,advertisements and advertorials are being published, Mass media such as TV, radio are also being used to spread awareness regarding the issue and why is it important ,how can it be tackled.

Bio diversity conservation is also a key concern. Bio diversity centres have been established in Dehradun, Varanasi, Allahabad and Barrackpore in order to provide protection to marine life in the river and also animals that are on the verge of getting extinct.

The reports provided by NMCG highlights that 1674 Gram Panchayats have been identified by the Ministry Of Drinking Water And Sanitation (MODWS) as part of Ganga rejuenation plan.

For construction of toilets, the MODWS has been allocated Rs 578 crore. Thirteen IIT’s have selected 65 villages as model villages. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is ensuring rural sanitation by developing Jharkhand which involves an estimated cost of Rs. 127 crore.

Namami Ganga programme is promoting afforestation in the Ganga basin as forest resources are diminishing due to increase in commercial use and human needs that are damaging the ecosystem.

 

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