NEW DELHI: The government has decided to declare the Ganga a ‘national river’ and set up a high-power Ganga River Basin Authority to stop its pollution and degradation.
The Authority will be chaired by the Prime Minister and will have as its members Chief Ministers of the States through which the Ganga flows. This was decided at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here on Tuesday.
The details of the Authority, to be vested with appropriate powers, will be worked out in consultation with State governments and Central Ministries of Water Resources, Environment and Forests, and Urban Development. The Authority will draw its powers from the Environment Protection Act.
The unit of planning, it was felt, should be the river basin and action related to pollution abatement, sustainable use of water and flood management should be integrated. The Authority will promote inter-sectoral coordination for comprehensive planning. Various agencies working on different aspects of river conservation and pollution management will be brought under it.
The Prime Minister referred to the special place the Ganga had in the hearts and minds of all Indians. This emotional link needed to be recognised. Dr. Singh wanted detailed final proposals prepared within two months after wide-ranging consultations.
An official press release issued by the Prime Minister’s Office said it was decided that the current piecemeal efforts in select cities must be replaced with an integrated approach that saw the river as an ecological entity and addressed various issues related to the quantity and quality of water.
6 months ago