Modi chairs first meeting of Ganga council

Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired the first meeting of the National Ganga Council in Kanpur on Saturday. The council was constituted in 2016 to oversee the cleaning of the Ganga and is supposed to meet at least once a year with the Prime Minister chairing the session.

“Somehow this couldn’t be done so far,” an official told The Hindu, “but one of the points taken up was about having this meeting more regularly.”

The meeting was also attended by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath; Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat; Union Ministers Prakash Javadekar, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Harsh Vardhan, R.K. Singh, Prahlad Patel, Mansukh Mandavia and Hardeep Singh Puri. Several officials from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal — all Ganga basin States — were also present.

The full quorum of the Council — with the Prime Minister in attendance — is largely ceremonial. The work of coordinating, supervising and deliberating on funding Namami Ganga projects is carried out by an executive committee of the National Mission for Clean Ganga that meets every month. The latest meeting was on December 3.

While a record of the proceedings of Saturday’s meeting isn’t ready yet, discussions were about the progress achieved in the cleaning of the river, said an official.

Mr. Modi also took a boat ride from Atal Ghat to Sisamau drain outfall point. The Sisamau drain was one of Asia largest drains that emptied nearly 140 million litres of untreated sewage into the Ganga and was a symbol of pollution in the river. It no longer empties sewage into the Ganga but the river continues to be unfit for bathing or use as a drinking water source, The Hindu reported in July.

On his return, Mr. Modi stumbled and fell on the steps of the Atal Ghat. The official cited earlier said he was in the vicinity and the Prime Minister appeared unhurt. One of the steps was uneven and probably may have caused Mr. Modi to stumble, the official said.

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Printable version | Jun 20, 2021 1:02:50 PM |

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