The government has significantly slashed allocations to its marquee plan to clean the Ganga.
In the Budget document, the government’s allocation to the ‘National Ganga Plan and Ghat works’ shows only ₹750 crore for 2019-2020, a sharp fall from ₹2,250 crore allotted last year. Last year, the government has only managed to spend ₹750 crore, the revised estimates for 2018-19 show.
Only 10 projects finished
In a report in May, The Hindu had pointed out that the National Democratic Alliance government has only finished 10 of the 100 sewage infrastructure projects commissioned after 2015 under the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG). The bulk of the completed projects were those initiated in the tenure of earlier governments.
A majority of the projects commissioned under the NMCG were about laying sewage treatment plants (STP) and sewer lines in the most polluted cities of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Uttarakhand. River-front development, cleaning ghats and removing trash from the river — the cosmetic side of the mission — make up about ₹1,200 crore of the mission outlay.
As of May — the latest figures available — ₹28,451 crore has been sanctioned for various projects but only about ₹6,955 crore (about 25%) has been spent. Of the 298 projects, only 99 had been completed.
The incomplete projects are reflected in the river quality.
None of the towns through which the Ganga courses through has water fit for bathing or drinking, according to water monitoring reports by the State and Central Pollution Control Boards.
NMCG Director-General Rajiv Ranjan Mishra did not respond to a request for comment on the slashed allocation.