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World Bank & Water Quality/Quantity of Ganga River Basin

Written By krishna on Wednesday, June 15, 2011 | 10:20 AM

Note: The World Bank has been undertaking contradictory projects in the Ganga basin without any sense of accountability. World Bank Group's position has consistently been contrary to what river basin approach is all about. World Bank Group have been supporters of ecologically destructive Interlinking of Rivers project. The World Bank was formally requested by Government of India to provide long-term support to National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) through several phases of substantive financing and knowledge support. Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF) for World Bank Assisted National Ganga River Basin Project (NGRBP) is organized into two volumes. The first volume reveals, "This report identified industrial pollution as one of the priamry sources of pollution, accounting for 25% of contamination in the basin. Additionally, the fact that only one-third of the sewage generated in the main-stem towns and cities receives treatment before entering the Ganga waters represents another major threat."

The second volume document says. "The Ganga basin (which also extends into parts of Nepal, China and Bangladesh) accounts for about 26 percent of India‟s landmass, 30 percent of its water resources, and more than 40 percent of its population."

The Access Initiative (TAI) of Washington based World Resources Institute (WRI) is funded by World Bank among other questionable corporations and organisations. They are now planning consultations with 'democratic' civil society groups on river basin planning. In effect, the text of the Ganga river basin is prepared by World Bank and then a discussion on it is also facilitated by them in a round about way to ensure 'participation' and 'access to information' unmindful of contradictory projects being undertaken by World Bank Group.

It is these very groups (claiming to represent citizens) who go to NGRBA meetings but do not bother to engage prior to or after with citizens and remain callous to demands for minutes of these meetings. The question which has remain unanswered is: do they represent their funders or the citizens of India?

Gopal Krishna

India Aims $1 Billion at Sacred but Filthy Ganga

NEW DELHI — Indian officials signed an agreement with the World Bank on Tuesday to use a $1 billion loan to finance the first major new effort in more than 20 years to cleanse the revered Ganges, one of the world’s dirtiest rivers.

One-third of India’s 1.2 billion people live along the banks of the 1,560-mile-long river, many of them relying on it for drinking, cooking and washing. Millions more visit for ritual baths to cleanse themselves of sin. But untreated sewage, agricultural runoff and industrial waste have fouled its waters for decades, and hydroelectric projects and dams threaten to choke off its waters in spots.

On Tuesday, a religious leader on a hunger strike over the effect of illegal mining on the state of the river, Swami Nigamanand, died after spending weeks in a coma..

The long-awaited loan is part of a government project that aims to halt the discharge of untreated wastewater into the river by 2020. The project, founded in 2009, replaced the 1986 Ganga Action Plan, the last large-scale attempt to address the pollution. That initiative was able to introduce waste water treatment in certain areas, it failed to halt raw waste disposal into the Ganges. Critics said it was inadequately financed and poorly managed.

Indian officials and representatives of the World Bank said Tuesday that they hoped the new project would be more successful. They cited the greater amount of money being invested, the broader focus on regional environmental health and a planned public education campaign.

“What we’re trying to do is take a step back and not look at just one sector — waste water — but take a larger sectoral approach,” said Genevieve Connors, a water resources specialist for the World Bank who is involved in the project.

But she noted that the task of cleaning a river was enormous, saying it “takes decades and costs hundreds of billions of dollars.”

Indian officials acknowledge that the Ganges is just one of many rivers that present public health problems. “Most of India’s rivers have become sewers,” said the environment minister, Jairam Ramesh. “We have to now really bring water into rivers.”

Japan helped to finance a cleanup project in the Yamuna River, the largest tributary to the Ganges, in 1993. But that project has largely failed to make a dent in the river’s pollution.


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