In what could be regarded as a major shot in the arm for the Clean Ganga project, Germany has promised that it will provide 3 million Euros. It will also look at various ways in which the river can be developed for which the level of cooperation between the two countries will be enhanced through the Indo-German Energy Forum. The forum was originally set up to help India with its energy requirements through partnerships between governmental and private entities. Barbara Hendricks, Minister of Environment, Nuclear Safety and Nature Conservation of Germany, recently had a meeting with Uma Bharti, Union Minister for Water Resources.
Germany’s success in Danube and Rhine
During their meeting last week, both the Ministers discussed important issues such as financial support as well as other options in which India and Germany could become partners. It is being assumed that there would be areas like river basin planning, research and institutional setting where both the countries will be partnering just as the Indo-German Energy Forum. There could also be assistance and collaboration in areas like strategies for rejuvenation of Ganga, defining the prime spots, assigning priority to various areas of work, evaluating and monitoring the basins of Ganga, and establishing Ganga knowledge centres.
Following the meeting Bharti has also said that Germany could provide financial assistance in areas like evolving groundbreaking financial models that can be used for controlling pollution in the urban areas as well as various industrial zones. Assistance could also be provided for managing the money. Certain public and privately held investment funds could also be prioritized in this regard.
Germany has already achieved success in rejuvenating Danube and Rhine and this is why it is hopeful of playing a similar role in India. There Germany had given special emphasis on areas such as pollution that resulted from dumping of industrial effluents and sewage in the river. This is why Germany’s assistance would be helpful in cleaning up Ganga as well.
Jharkhand to be given priority
Considering the scope of the project, which calls for involvement of the States through which Ganga flows, as well as other countries, one can only feel that such assistance from Germany would be a good beginning.
The Indian Government is likely to prioritize the stretch of Ganga flowing through Jharkhand. One major reason for this is the fact that the stretch is much smaller than in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Uttarakhand – the other States through which the river flows. It can be assumed that cleaning up this portion of the river would present less challenges for the administration. Then the work done over here can be replicated in the other States as well. Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a meeting at which this decision was taken. At the same meeting it was also decided that special purpose vehicles or SPVs would be instituted for carrying out the various programmes and plans in a successful way.