Tracking the Clean Ganga Project: Slow Progress Attracts Criticism

Clean Ganga Mission

Clean Ganga MissionWhen Narendra Modi had filed his nomination papers as a BJP candidate representing Varanasi he had stated to the common people that it was Maa Ganga who had beckoned him over there and it was not out of his own accord that he had chosen to contest from Varanasi. Later on, he also committed himself to clean up the holy river and started the ambitious Clean Ganga project spanning 18 years. Unfortunately, not much has changed if ground reality is to be believed. The NDA has already been criticised sharply – time and again – by the Supreme Court for the slow progress in the said project in the last few years and now even a house panel has gone ahead and meted out the same treatment to the centre.

House Panel Criticises Modi Government for Slow Progress

There are a number of schemes under the Clean Ganga programme but none of them have got off the ground. The same can be said of the funds generated so far for the project – they are yet to be used. In fact, the central cabinet is yet to provide its consent to the project itself! The parliamentary standing committee has issued a report on the Ministry of Water Resources, which is looking after the project. The said report has revealed the wholly unsatisfactory pace at which this project has been progressing.

There have also been several demands for grants for the river’s rejuvenation – a situation that betrays the absence of separate funds for the various programmes related to the main project. At the present moment, the work of cleaning Ganga is being executed in an apathetic manner and the standing committee has apportioned the blame in this case to the lack of approval that is leading to paucity of funds needed for better standards of operation. The committee’s report also states that in the 2014-15 budget, INR 1500 crore had been assigned for the project but the money is yet to be used up.

Till date only INR 4.36 crore has been spent on the project and that too for the Yamuna Action Plan. Incidentally, eight crore had been allocated for the said project. This means that even in this case too, the entire amount has not been utilized for some or the other reason.

Ganga Bank at Varanasi Cleaned by Local People and BJP Workers

On 3 May 2015, BJP workers joined hands with the residents at Varanasi to clean the banks of Ganga. They gathered the garbage that had accumulated on the banks and put it in the dustbins. They also used broom sticks to clean up the roads leading up to the river. Shankar Giri, a member of BJP’s Varanasi unit, said that they had been able to clean up 86 ghats in the town. He said that it was their responsibility to make sure that the ghats looked beautiful again and people visiting them from various parts were happy to see them. He expressed satisfaction that he had been able to do that.

Ranjay Singh, a BJP worker, has stated that he is hopeful that this work would act as an inspiration for others in India and they would be encouraged to make sure that their surroundings are always clean.

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