India - Centre to pump in Rs 15,000 cr to clean Ganga
That is what 450 million Indians dependent on river Ganga (Ganges) for their life calls this 2510 km long river. Considered as a holy river and goddess who can washes away all the sins, Hindus give water from this river to those who dying so that their soul get purified and they achieve the eternal peace. They drink the water as it is equivalent to the mother's milk. After the death, the ashes are supposed to be spread over the river to achieve this ultimate bliss.
Now , with the heavy pollution of Ganga with various industrial and otherwise pollutants, giving the water from this river to the ailing can speed up the death. It can be considered as a kind of mercy killing and hence a criminal offence.
It seems that Indian government 'suddenly' became aware do this caustrophic situation. Having spent a paltry INR 960 crore over the past 20 years - which did not yield much of a result – the government is planning to spend another INR 15000 crore to make the river pollution free , in another 10 years.
After investing almost Rs 960 crore in the past 22 years, the Centre has now decided to spend an additional Rs 15,000 crore to make the Ganga river pollution free within the next ten years.
"No untreated industrial effluent and municipal sewage will be allowed to flow in the river after 2020," Union Minister Jairam Ramesh told reporters here after the first meeting of the newly formed National Ganga River Basin Authority which was chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
He pointed out that currently there is a sewage treatment capacity of only about 1000 mld (million litres per day) against 3000 mld sewage being generated in the towns along Ganga.
This announcement by the Union Minister came after the offer from the World Bank loan of $ 1 billion to clean Ganga.
World Bank has been engaged for a long-term support of National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA), a body headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for cleaning up the river in a much more systematic manner," Ramesh told media in the capital.
We are in the process of clinching a five to seven years loans in very attractive terms. The preliminary indicatives are very positive and discussions with the Bank officials are being proceeded very rapidly, the Union environment minister added
The common man is not that excited or optimistic about all these spending in the name of “river cleansing”. Highly corrupted bureaucracy made him to think in such lines.
"More and more devotees throng the Ganga, but there are no arrangements for anything. Though there are provisions for devotees, but the administration and the Ganga Pollution Board formed during the tenure of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, has been doing nothing to check the pollution level in Ganga. We have been living in Haridwar since childhood, but we haven't seen any initiative to clean Ganga," said Kailash, a resident in Haridwar.
Apart from this, big drains opening into Ganga also add to the pollution levels in the sacred river.
"All through the course of the river, so many drains mix into Ganga water. It is polluting water badly. The people are losing faith in the administration. The water has become unfit for drinking. The government should take strict steps to control the pollution level in Ganga," said Dev Dutt, another resident.