Tuesday, May 22, 2012

National Ganga River Basin Authority

The Minister of State (I/C) for Environment and Forests Smt. Jayanthi Natarajan today stated in Rajya Sabha that Ganga Basin is the largest river basin of the country with catchment lying in 11 States covering about 26% of the Indian landmass and 43% of the irrigable area with a population of nearly 500 million.

She further stated that the Central Government has constituted the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) in February 2009 as an empowered body to ensure effective abatement of pollution and conservation of the river Ganga by adopting a holistic river basin approach. So far three meetings of Authority have been convened on 9th October 2009, 1st November 2010 and 17th April, 2012 respectively.

The Minister said that the Authority in its first meeting decided that under Mission Clean Ganga it will be ensured that by 2020 no untreated municipal sewage and industrial effluents flow into Ganga. Projects amounting to nearly Rs. 2600 crore have been sanctioned so far under the NGRBA for development of sewer networks, sewage treatment plants, electric crematoria, community toilets, development of river fronts, etc in the States of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal. Out of 55 sanctioned projects, 7 projects have been completed and remaining projects are in various stages of implementation. Further, based on the decisions of NGRBA in the first meeting, the Central Government has set up a Standing Committee under NGRBA to monitor implementation and an Empowered Steering Committee to approve pollution abatement projects on fast track basis; declared Gangetic Dolphin as the national aquatic animal.

Based on the decision in the second meeting, it has been decided to share costs towards operation and maintenance of the assets created under NGRBA between Centre and the States in the ratio of 70:30 and discontinued three hydro-electric power projects of Lohari Nagpala, Bhaironghati and Pala Maneri on Bhagirathi River.

In the third meeting it was decided that with respect to the proposed hydro-electric projects in the upper reaches of river Ganga, a multi-disciplinary group including the concerned State Governments would examine the reports prepared by the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee and Wild Life Institute of India for drawing up a roadmap for further action.