The newly formed Ganga River Basin Authority today met under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, to discuss several measures regarding cleaning up the river in a systematic manner.

The nearly three hour long meeting was attended by Chief Minister of Uttarakhand Ramesh Pokhriyal, his Bihar counterpart Nitish Kumar and representatives of West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh at the PM’s residence.

Union Minister Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh and deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia were also present at the first meeting of the authority.

“How to keep Ganga clean as it is a national river and how the cities and towns situated on its banks, can be systematised, were among the issues which were discussed,” Pokhriyal told mediapersons after the meeting.

He said since Uttarakhand is the birthplace of Ganga, it should be seen in a different light from other states through which it flows.

“We have urged the Centre to give 1,000 mw of power free of cost to us and also sought Rs 10,000 crore annually for the state’s development, maintaining the Ganga and our forests as Uttarakhand has 65 per cent forest cover,” Pokhriyal said.

Uttarakhand, UP, Bihar and West Bengal - the four states through which Ganga flows - are members of the authority.