Tracking the Clean Ganga Project – Law to Stop Effluent Discharge
The government of India agrees that it needs to adhere to a policy so that effluents are no longer discharged into Ganga in order to make sure that it is successful in Clean Ganga project. This is the reason it is thinking about a new law that will make sure that zero effluent discharge actually becomes a reality. It is expected to consult with the states through which the river passes before finally coming up with the law.
Centre mulls law to stop effluent discharge in Ganga
Uma Bharti, Union Minister of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, has stated that the central government has always professed its commitment to making the project succeed. Incidentally, she has been charged with the execution of this project. She has stated that the union government is working to come up with ways to deal with all kinds of effluents such as industrial waste and sewage.
National Green Tribunal criticizes central and UP Government
National Green Tribunal has laid into the governments of India and Uttar Pradesh for what it believes to be zero progress achieved in Clean Ganga project, also known as Namami Gange project. Its main issue is the continued discharge of effluents into Ganga. It has in fact asked both the governments to provide reports on industrial waste being discharged in Ganga between Kanpur and Haridwar. It has also criticized Ministry of Water Resources, Ministry of Environment, Pollution Control Board, and related authority bodies for lacking a proper stand with regards to cleaning the river.
It has also issued a final warning and asked them to submit reports within the end of August. Failing this deadline the secretary of each guilty body will have to part with INR 25,000. It has specifically asked the said governments to provide a proper plan regarding how they are aiming to save the river in the aforementioned stretch. The environmental body has also criticized the fact that they are only busy highlighting the serious nature of this problem instead of coming up with a solution. NGT has also lamented the fact that in spite of providing directions repeatedly the governments have not been able to achieve anything.
Incidentally, as statistics show, Indian Government has already spent INR 2958 crore from INR 3703 crore allocated for the programme. In a recent RTI (Right to Information) from a class 10 student named Aishwarya Sharma PMO (Prime Minister’s Office) has stated that the project is still in its initial stages even after a couple of years has passed. Political opponents are mostly of the opinion that Modi’s pre-election public dedications to Ganga were mostly done with the aim of getting positive sentiments and thus votes.
In 2014-15 Indian Government initially allotted INR 2137 crore for the project only to reduce it to INR 2,053 crore and then spent only INR 326 crore for the same. This meant that at least INR 1700 crore was not spent. The situation was not much different in 2015-16. The government was initially supposed to allot INR 2,750 crore but brought it down to INR 1650 crore and then ended up spending INR 18 crore less than that amount. It has already allotted INR 2500 crore for the present year but it does not have any expense-related detail till now. The national government has promised it will spend INR 20,000 crore in the next five years for this project.
More than 8500 crore sanctioned for Clean Ganga project
Indian Government may have already allotted more than INR 8500 crore – INR 8588.21 crore to be exact – in Clean Ganga but properly-evident results are yet to reveal themselves. Till date, 97 projects in all have been sanctioned in 53 towns according to Ministry of Water Resources.
12 of these projects are completely new parts of the said programme and they are going to cost the government INR 351.42 crore. Till date, 32 projects out of the 97 allotted have been completed. Following is a breakdown of projects received by various states:
- Uttarakhand – 23 projects across 12 towns
- Uttar Pradesh – 15 projects across eight towns
- Bihar – 14 projects across five towns
- Jharkhand – one project
- West Bengal – 30 projects across 12 towns
- Haryana – two projects across two towns
- Delhi – one project
Vijay Goel, Minister of State for Water Resources, recently stated in the parliament that till 30th June the ministry has received INR 1,32,43,81,681 in donations. The donations have come from various sources such as people living in the country, non-resident Indians (NRIs), private cooperatives, and even public sector undertakings.
The said amount is expected to be spent in carrying out various projects under the said programme. He has also stated that if the corporate houses and privately-owned entities can come forward and donate to Clean Ganga Fund (CGF) it will help them – since it is a recognized CSR (corporate social responsibility) activity – and the project as well.
As Goel has stated, if companies and individuals donate to CGF then they can receive tax exemptions as per Section 80G of Income Tax Act, 1961. Indian Government has also found out 110 cities where sewage is being released into waterbodies without proper treatment and has started to take steps in order to clean those up.
Uninterrupted flow needed for Clean Ganga to succeed – Nitish Kumar
Nitish Kumar, recently stated that he was concerned at the condition of Ganga. He has also stated for Clean Ganga project to succeed it is important the river’s flow is never interrupted. He has said that in Bihar the river has become shallow owing to silt being deposited in the river because of Farakka Dam’s construction. The Chief Minister of Bihar has also said that as a consequence of this water goes to nearby areas in case the water level increases even negligibly. He has also pointed that the silt management issue needs to be dealt as national priority.
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