Uma seeks aid to clean up Ganga

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on June 26, 2014

To protect the main course of the river

Water Resources Minister, Uma Bharati, has asked for ‘donations’ from industrial houses to clean up the Ganga.

Addressing a national conference on preserving rivers organised by the PHD Chamber of Commerce here on Wednesday, she said the Centre was planning an integrated approach to rejuvenate the river. “There is no dearth of money,” she said, adding that the effort was to protect the main course of the river.

She said the existing action plans did not work well because of the lack of co-ordination. “Now we have a Ministry for Ganga. We will work focussed,” she said.

The Minister said she was also holding discussions with other countries, scientists, technocrats and experts on the issue. “In August, we plan to hold a meeting on the banks of the Ganga,” she added.

Protection of rivers

A background paper, discussed in the seminar, said the Government does not have any vision for the protection of rivers. It said the Government looks at rivers as a resource to be exploited for various water services and not as a resource that has certain basic economic, social, environmental and cultural value.

“Thus when the governments take decision to build a dam to store water, build a structure to divert water or build a hydropower project that either has huge storage capacity or diverts the river through long distance underground tunnels, it does not see that these projects actually destroy an existing important resource,” the paper said.

It added that there is no law in India to ensure that the rivers continue to flow with perennial freshwater flow when such projects are taken up by the Governments.

Published on June 26, 2014

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