River Ganga is considered as our National River, but it was polluted more than other rivers. So, there was a need for cleaning the River Ganga. As a citizen of India, it is all of our duty to keep our National River in a good condition. This article contains history about the River Ganga and the causes which are lead to the impurity of the Ganga, the need for cleaning the Ganga.
Indian civilization grew up under the care of river Ganga for thousands of years, grown up for generations by her generous boundaries. River Ganga along with her many sub rivers provided material, spiritual, and cultural sustenance to millions of people who lived in and around her basin. To the Indian mind, River Ganga is not only the holiest of rivers and purifier of moral beings but also a living goddess! So she was considered as “Mother Ganga”.
Need To Clean Up The Ganga
The River Ganga was most polluted in the recent years. Recently, discharges from the Barauni Oil Refinery caused gross pollution along a long stretch of the main Ganga. The main factories, which pollute the stream are sugar, distillery, tin, glycerine, paint soap, rayon, silk and yarn.
The first step
A major step to control and clean up the Ganga had been taken in1984 when the Central Ganga authority was established to implement the Ganga Action Plan. This plan had identified 27 cities and 120 factories as points of pollution from Haridwar to Hooghly.
Ganga Action Plan
The Ganga Action Plan or GAP was a program launched by Government of India in April 1985 in order to reduce the pollution in the river Ganga. The program was launched with more importance but it failed to reduce the pollution level in Ganga. This plan spent 901.71 Crore rupees over a period of 15 years.
The Cabinet approved the GAP (Ganga Action Plan) in April 1985 as a 100 per cent centrally sponsored scheme. This Action Plan has two Phases.
Ganga Action Plan Phase I & II
The Ganga Action Plan (GAP) Phase-I was launched in 1985 and later GAP Phase-II was initiated in 1993 with the objective of improving the water quality of river Ganga and was later expanded to include some of its tributaries also.
To oversee the implementation of the Ganga Action Plan and to lay down the policies and programmes, Government of India constituted a Central Ganga Authority (CGA) in February 1985, later it was renamed as the National River Conservation Authority (NRCA) in September 1995, under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister. The Government also established the Ganga Project Directorate (GDP) in June 1985 as a wing of Department of Environment, to execute the projects under the guidance and supervision of the CGA.
According to many Environmental thinkers, this GAP was an over-ambitious project. The money which is allocated to spend on this program was not used properly, due to Corruption.
National Mission For Clean Ganga (NMCG)
It was the enforcing wing of the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA). The NMCG was created in June 2014, is the planning, financing, monitoring and coordinating body at the Union Government and is supported by suitable State level Program Management Groups (SMGs) for the purpose of achieving the two objectives of the NGRBA;
•Effective abatement of pollution and
•Conservation of the river Ganga by adopting a Comprehensive river basin approach.
Namami Gange Project
In May 2015, the Government approved the Namami Gange Programme as a comprehensive mechanism to take up initiatives for Rejuvenation of river Ganga and its tributaries as a Central Sector Scheme with hundred per cent funding by the Union Government. It is an integrated Project that will also help the population of India who is dependent on the river. Initially, the Project was allocated a budget of Rs.2037Crores.Under this Project, the government ordered 48 out of industries to shut down. The scheme will cover 47 towns in 8 states.
Swachh Ganga Abhiyan
Ganga is not only a river of religious importance but many people depend on it for their livelihood. We want the campaign to be associated with employment and livelihood.
According to CAG report, “Out of ₹6,705 crore earmarked during 2015-16 and 2016-17, NMCG [National Mission for Clean Ganga] could spend only ₹1,665.41 crore, less than a quarter of the expected year-wise release of funds,”. So, there was a low utilisation of funds indicate poor implementation of the programme.
Not having an action plan also led to non-utilization of any amount from the corpus of ₹198.14 crore available in the Clean Ganga Fund created through voluntary donations by citizens and non-resident Indians.
So, there was a deficiency in planning and laxity in spending available funds by the State governments as targets set for constriction household toilets and making villages open defecation free were not achieved.
Out of 46 sewage treatment plants, there were delays in 26 projects due to delay in execution of projects, non-availability of land and slow progress of work by contractors.