Cabinet clears 'Namami Gange' project

Cabinet clears 'Namami Gange' project

The Centre on Wednesday approved Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious project Ganga cleaning and protection programme and has allocated Rs 20,000 crore as budget.

“The Union Cabinet, chaired by Modi approved the flagship ‘Namami Gange’ Programme which integrates the efforts to clean and protect the Ganga river in a comprehensive manner,” a government statement said. Under the programme, a total of Rs 20,000 crore will be spent for the next five years by the Government of India.

The Union Ministry of Water Resources is also planning to provide for operation and maintenance of the assets for a minimum 10 year period, and adopt a PPP/SPV approach for pollution hotspots.

In an attempt to bolster enforcement, the Centre also plans to establish a 4-battalion Ganga Eco-Task Force, a Territorial Army unit, apart from contemplating on a legislation that aims to check pollution and protect the river.

In 1986, the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had launched the “Ganga Action Plan”, a Rs 462-crore project, with main objective of pollution abatement and to improve the water quality.

“Drawing from past lessons, the programme also focuses on involving the states and grassroots-level institutions such as urban local bodies and Panchayati Raj institutions for its implementation,” it said.

The programme would be implemented by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), and its state counterpart organisations, that is, the State Programme Management Groups (SPMGs). The NMCG will also establish field offices wherever necessary, the statement added.

A three-tier mechanism has been proposed for monitoring projects, comprising a task force chaired by the Cabinet Secretary and assisted by NMCG at the national level, state- level committees chaired by Chief Secretary and assisted by SPMG and district-level committees chaired by the District Magistrate.

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