Cabinet nod for panel to clean up river Ganga

The Cabinet approval comes after the Namami Gange Mission, a manifesto promise of the NDA, failed to attract the kind of support envisaged by the Modi government


The Central government has allotted Rs20,000 crore to the Namami Gange Mission. Photo: HT
The Central government has allotted Rs20,000 crore to the Namami Gange Mission. Photo: HT

A national council under Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be set up in place of the existing national Ganga river basin authority to manage pollution prevention and the rejuvenation of the Ganga basin.

The council will be set up under the River Ganga (Rejuvenation, Protection and Management) Authorities Order approved by the Union cabinet on Wednesday.

The cabinet also empowered the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) to discharge its functions independently.

“There is adequate delegation of financial and administrative powers which will distinctly establish NMCG as both responsibility and accountability centre and effectively accelerate the process of project implementation for Ganga Rejuvenation,” the government said.

To monitor the implementation of the mission’s action plans, the government has also set up a task force under the minister for water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation to ensure coordination among the concerned departments and state governments.

The authority has also been given power under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. According to the government, the revamped structure would be required to maintain ecological flows in the river and ensure water quality and environmentally sustainable development.

This push comes after the Namami Gange Mission, a manifesto promise of the National Democratic Alliance, failed to attract the kind of support envisaged by the government. In July, two years after the launch of the mission, the central government launched over 200 projects under the programme. The central government has allotted Rs20,000 crore to the mission.

“At the State level, it is proposed to create the State Ganga Committees in each of the defined States as Authority, to function as Authorities in respect of each State and perform the superintendence, direction and control over the District Ganga Protection Committees under their jurisdiction,” the statement said.

The 2,500km long river originates in the Himalayas and ends in the Bay of Bengal in the east, after passing through Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal.

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