Ganga will be pollution-free by October 2016, says Uma Bharti

Union Minister Uma Bharti Minister says 'Namami Gange' project is delayed as Centre decided to bear entire funding. Photo: Sandeep Saxena

Union Minister Uma Bharti Minister says 'Namami Gange' project is delayed as Centre decided to bear entire funding. Photo: Sandeep Saxena  

Minister says project “delayed” as Centre decided to bear entire funding

River Ganga will show first signs of being pollution-free by October next year and the first project on inter-linking of rivers (Ken-Betwa) will take off within a year, Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti said here on Thursday.

She said the “Namami Gange” project had been “delayed” as the Centre decided to bear the entire funding, instead of asking States to give a matching grant, and thus had to re-work its financial plans and approvals. A sum of Rs. 12,000 crore has been set aside for the project.

Asking the Congress not to politicise the Ganga and inter-linking of rivers, she denied the charge of a saffron agenda and said that the river was connected with the livelihood of 50 crore people and the entire economy of populous States such as Bihar and Uttar Pradesh were dependent on it.

Speaking on the one year of her Ministry, she said the government would have to enact a law or bring a policy that would ensure sustainability of pollution-free Ganga. “We are moving in that direction and need wider consultations,” the Minister said.

Criticising the Congress for finding holes in the Damanganga-Pinjal and Par-Tapi river links, Ms. Bharti offered to make “presentations” on the Ganga and river-linking before Congress president Sonia Gandhi, party leader Mallikarjun Kharge and Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh to enable them to explain the factual position to their party leaders.

“If you say that it is a saffron agenda, then you should re-think. I am ready for a presentation at their residence,” the Minister said.

Asked about displacement of people that the rivers linking project will bring, Ms. Bharti said not a single person would be removed if he/she was not convinced about a better life and four-times the compensation.

Ground water management

The Centre would send teams of young entrepreneurs abroad to study river and ground water management and how to do more irrigation from less water. The teams would be sent to Israel, Australia and the United Kingdom.

Ms. Bharti said the government was aware of lowering of ground water levels and was working on better management.

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 7:21:37 AM |

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