Tardy Ganga clean-up irks PM Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has criticized the departments tasked to execute the river Ganga's cleaning work for the Namami Gange programme's dismal performance. At a recently held review meeting, the Prime Minister red-flagged different issues pertaining to the delay in the Ganga's cleaning work, according to sources,.
At the review meeting, Modi expressed his displeasure over the report card prepared by officials of NITI Aayog, the Water Resources Ministry, National Mission for Clean Ganga and Central Pollution Control Board, stating that it does not match the actual work.
"When officials presented the report card on Ganga cleanliness, which showed lots of work being done to make pious the river pollution-free, the Prime Minister asked them why it's not visible on the ground," a source added.
Modi had also raised concerns over the officials' data 'forecasting' the Ganga cleaning duration and asked why the situation is still as it was in 2014 at many places, including Haridwar, Rishikesh, Varanasi, etc. "Expressing his displeasure over the snails' pace of the ongoing Ganga river cleanup work, the Prime Minister asked officials to explain what to tell told the people on the snails' pace progress of the Namami Gange project in three years," the source said. He added that a road map for the next year and a half of the Namami Gange was also discussed at the meeting.
It has also been asked to implement the project in the next year and a half before the 2019 elections, for which Modi will review the project's progress every six months.
The Namami Gange programme is an integrated conservation mission and flagship project of the Prime Minister, launched in June 2014. The Centre has spent about Rs 2,500 crore on the project, which includes installation of equipment to clean the river, preparations of detailed project reports, allocation to states, awareness campaign, etc.
At the meeting, Modi was apprised of the "considerable" progress made in rural sanitation in villages along the banks of the river Ganga. He directed officials to increase public awareness and participation in the task of cleaning the river.
A few days after the review meeting, Union Minister Uma Bharti set off on a tour to inspect the Namami Gange programme's execution at various places along the Ganga in a bid to get first-hand information on the work done to clean up the polluted river.
Bharti will travel from Ganga Sagar, West Bengal, to Gangotri, Uttarakhand, during her 15-day yatra.