The Union Minister for River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Nitin Gadkari, emphatically stated that the 70% of the dying river Ganga will clean by March 2019. While speaking at a program organized by India Today, he said, ” This is my challenge. If it is not done, you can run a breaking news that I have failed.”
In an earlier report by NDTV, he was quoted as saying, “It is a general perception that nothing significant is being done under Namami Gange Programme but this is not correct. 251 Gross Polluting Industries (GPI) was closed and closure directions have been issued to non-complying GPIs”.
He further mentioned that real-time monitoring of pollution is being done in 938 industries and 211 main “Nallas” (drains), causing the river to get polluted.
However, a look at the project since its start four years back shows it has hardly taken off. It is being reported that out of the 20,000 crores allocate to the Namami Gange Programme only 4,254 crores has been utilized for the 193 projects sanctioned, till March 2018. Moreover, out of the 65 entry-level projects which were intended for the cleaning the ghats and constructing new ones, cleaning the riverfront and surface, only 24 have been completed till now.
The aim of the flagship programme was to build sewage infrastructure, ghats, crematoriums and riverfront development, river surface cleaning, institutional development and rural sanitation.
The cleaning of Ganga was one of the major promises made by the BJP during the 2014 Elections, which saw them coming to power.
River Ganga has the largest river basin in India and supports almost 43% of the population. The river flows through five states namely – Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, before finally merging into the Bay of Bengal.
Also published on Medium.