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Ganga to be declared a "National River"

Written By Gopal Krishna on Tuesday, November 04, 2008 | 3:54 AM

A GANGA RIVER BASIN AUTHORITY TO BE SET UP

At a meeting chaired by Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh with Ministries of Water Resources, Environment and Forests and Urban Development in New Delhi today, a decision was taken to declare the Ganga as a National River and also set up a Ganga River Basin Authority as an empowered planning, implementing and monitoring authority for the Ganga River. The proposed Authority would be chaired by the Prime Minister and would have as its Members Chief Ministers of States through which the Ganga flows.

The Prime Minister referred to the special place Ganga has in the hearts and minds of all Indians and stated that this emotional link needs to be recognized and that the country should set up a model for river cleaning through the new institutional mechanism. It was decided that there is a need to replace the current piecemeal efforts taken up in a fragmented manner in select cities with an integrated approach that sees the river as an ecological entity and addresses issues of quantity in terms of water flows along with issues of quality.

The details of the Authority to be vested with appropriate powers would be worked out in consultation with State Governments and Central Ministries.

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 proposed Authority will promote intersectoral coordination for comprehensive planning for the river. Various agencies working on different aspects of river conservation and pollution management would be brought together under this proposed Authority.

Prime Minister also directed that detailed final proposals may be prepared within two months after necessary wide ranging consultations. It was also recognised that the spirit of the Ganga Action Plan as conceived in 1985 by the then Prime Minister Shri Rajiv Gandhi of making the cleaning for the Ganga River a people's movement should be restored.

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