The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on Thursday approved a Rs.7,000-crore project to clean the Ganga. It will be implemented by the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA).

The Centre's share will be Rs.5,100 crore and that of the governments of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal Rs.1,900 crore.

The World Bank has agreed in principle to provide a loan assistance of $1 billion (roughly Rs.4,600 crore) for the NGRBA project, which will form part of the Central share of the project.

The duration of the project will be eight years. The NGRBA was constituted in February 2009 as an empowered planning, financing, monitoring and coordinating authority for the Ganga under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

The objective of the Authority, which is chaired by the Prime Minister, is to ensure conservation of the Ganga by comprehensive planning and management, adopting a river basin approach.

The project is envisaged as the first phase in a long-term programme of World Bank support to the NGRBA.

The project, which will support the NGRBA's objective of Mission Clean Ganga, has been designed keeping in view the lessons learnt from the previous Ganga Action Plan and international river clean-ups.

The project will have components relating to institutional development for setting up dedicated institutions for implementing the NGRBA programme, setting up Ganga Knowledge Centre and strengthening environmental regulators (Pollution Control Boards) and local institutions.

It will also have components relating to infrastructure investments, including municipal sewage, industrial pollution, solid wastes and river front management, and project implementation support.

The CCEA has also cleared an intensified malaria control programme for the seven North-Eastern States at a cost of Rs.417 crore. The programme is being run under the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) with support from Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria (GFATM - Round 9).

The approval envisages continuance of the erstwhile Global Fund Supported Intensified Malaria Control Project (IMCP-I) (2005-10), with revised geographical focus in high-endemic seven North-Eastern States for accelerated control of malaria, a government spokesperson said.

Human resources development, procurement and distribution of commodities and drugs, information, education and communication, behaviour change communication (BCC) activities and planning, monitoring and evaluation are the main components of the programme.

The project will facilitate upscaling of detection of Plasmodium falciparum (Pf) cases through Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDTs), treatment of cases with Artemisinin Based Combination Therapy (ACT) and distribution of Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs).

Further, it includes measures for improving behaviour change communication, vector and parasite surveillance, partnership development and capacity building.

The aim of the project is to reduce malaria-related mortality and morbidity in project States by at least 30 per cent by 2015 as compared with the 2008 levels.

The project will cover a five-year period from October 1, 2010 to September 30, 2015.

Keywords: Ganga pollution