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Issue 19
, 2009
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Govt on a 'mission' to clean Ganga

Source: The Times of India, New Delhi, Date: , 2009

The government is changing its approach towards cleaning the Ganga. After 24 years of Ganga Action Plan and Rs916 crore failed to rejuvenate the river, the government now wants to take it up as a "mission", minister of state for environment and forests (MoEF) Jairam Ramesh said. 'Mission Ganga' plans to stop flow of untreated sewage and effluents into the river by 2020. The National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) held its first meeting, attended by representatives of Ganga basin states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Bengal, on Oct 6, 2009. The government noted that only 20% of municipal sewage falling into the Ganga is treated. No estimate is available of treated industrial effluents. Currently, there is a sewage treatment capacity of 1000 million litres per day (mld), against 3000 mld generated in the towns along the Ganga.Ramesh said, "The pollutants in Ganga comprise 75% municipal sewage and 25% industrial waste." For speedier action, it was decided to set up a standing committee headed by finance minister and an empowered committee headed by MoEF. The MoEF, along with Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), will prepare an action plan, within next three months, to check industrial pollution. An action plan for the entire Ganga basin would be prepared by December 2010.The government hopes to get a $1 billion (Rs5,000 crore) World Bank (WB) loan for the Rs15,000 crore project. Talks with WB have been positive and the deal is expected during the WB president's visit in December. The Planning Commission is yet to work
out sharing of expenses between Centre and states. The states want the Centre to bear the entire cost, but the Centre wants states to meet 30% of the expense.