Clean Ganga programme not flowing smoothly
Time taken by National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) to be fully operational after erstwhile National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) was dissolved has Centre's 'Namami Gange' programme crawling, sources said. The ambitious programme lost momentum in July last year when various entry-level projects under it were launched, after changes involving the NGRBA, which used to execute the project, were made, sources said.
They maintained the deadline to rid the 2,525-km river of filth by 2018 though was still "achievable", particularly after the BJP emerged victorious in UP and Uttarakhand polls, two of the five Ganga basin states.
"The NMCG was turned into an authority last year but it has been a fledgling body and not much has happened after the NGRBA was dissolved. The programme lost its momentum since," an official in Water Resources Ministry rued.
The Union Cabinet had approved River Ganga (Rejuvenation, Protection and Management) Authorities Order in September last year. This paved way for replacing the NGRBA with National Ganga Council.
The NGRBA was hence dissolved effective from October, 2016. On the other hand, the NMCG, a society under NGRBA, was turned into an authority.
According to sources, around 8,500 million litres daily (MLD) of waste water is generated by 118 cities and towns in the river basin. The present waste water treatment capacity available is only 3,400 MLD, they pointed out.
In addition to this, alleged non-cooperation by previous Akhilesh Yadav dispensation in Uttar Pradesh over implementing the Rs 20,000 crore programme in the state which has the longest Ganga stretch of the five basin states, further delayed the work, they claimed.
According to the official, non-BJP-ruled Ganga basin states of Bihar and West Bengal though have been cooperative with the Centre in implementing the project. The fifth state, Jharkhand, has the BJP in power.
"Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Rawat met Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti earlier this week to discuss the programme.
"Bharti is set to hold parleys with new UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Saturday in Lucknow. Things are expected to move henceforth," the official added.