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Task force formed for Namami Gange's speedy implementation

New Delhi: Union minister Nitin Gadkari, who assumed additional charge of water resources on Monday, has announced the formation of an inter-ministerial task force to expedite implementation of the Centre's Namami Gange mission.
Accompanied by his predecessor Uma Bharti, he also said the ministry would come out with a detailed schedule on achieving various targets under the mission in a time-bound and transparent manner in a week.
He also heaped praises on Bharti for working hard and doing all the ground work towards cleaning the river in the past three years and said he would try to see that the ministry attained all the goals she had set.
"We will form a task force...We will come out with a schedule of targets to be achieved under the mission in a week. We will try to realise the dreams of the prime minister in a time-bound, transparent manner...we will attain all the deadlines fixed by Umaji," Gadkari told reporters here.
The task force is expected to have ministers and officials from water resources, urban development, drinking water and sanitation and rural development among others onboard.
Praising Bharti, who headed the water resources ministry till the Cabinet was reshuffled yesterday, he said, "Assuming charge from her is like everything was ready in the kitchen and I took charge when the food was about to be served."
On her part, Bharti exuded confidence that the ministry would be able to attain its goals under Gadkari's leadership.
Ministers of state for water resources Arjun Ram Meghwal and Satyapal Singh were also present at the briefing.
Gadkari replaced Bharti in the ministry, allegedly as the Namami Ganga mission, dear to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a key poll promise of the ruling BJP, was moving at a snail's pace.
Meanwhile, with Nitin Gadkari getting additional responsibility of the Union water resources ministry, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday voiced hope that irrigation proposals worth Rs 24,000 crore submitted to the Centre by Maharashtra will be speedily cleared.
Fadnavis noted that Gadkari, who holds the charge of the road transport ministry, sanctioned several highway proposals in Maharashtra, and now he has got additional responsibility of water resources ministry, which is a crucial department for the state." The network of national highways in Maharashtra increased from 5,000 km to 20,000 km, he said.
"The Maharashtra government has already submitted irrigation proposals worth Rs 24,000 crore to the Union ministry. With Gadkari being the minister, I am hopeful of all the projects getting speedy clearances and funds," he said.
Under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchan Yojana, the Centre has sanctioned Rs 26,000 crore-worth works in Maharashtra, possibly the largest allocation under the scheme in the country, Fadnavis added.
"The biggest reform we are bringing is pipeline-based water supply and doing away with the prevailing open canal system where land acquisition, related litigation, water leakage and challenges of equitable water distribution are the hurdles. Several (irrigation) projects are incomplete because land owners refused to give land for canal construction. By laying pipelines, we minimise the need for land," he said.
Gadkari has taken care of Maharashtra's requirements in roads and national highways, "he would do the same when it comes to the water resources," Fadnavis said.
The CM also asserted that Suresh Prabhu -- another minister from the state -- took several steps to improve railway connectivity in Maharashtra and minimise travel woes of Mumbai residents. The new railway minister, Piyush Goyal, who is a Rajya Sabha member from Maharashtra, would be similarly helpful, he said.
"Goyal is a 'Mumbaikar' and well aware of multiple problems of this region. Proposals of redevelopment of railway stations and improvement of railway facilities are the two fronts where Maharashtra is expected to benefit more. His work as the Union power minister was also beneficial for Maharashtra," he said.
The agriculture export sector is expected to benefit with Prabhu heading the commerce ministry, Fadnavis said. "As the railway minister, he had helped set up pre-cooling facility for farmers in Nashik. Now as the commerce minister, his support for agri-export will be valuable," the chief minister said.
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