New Delhi: Union Water Resources,River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Minister Uma Bharti on Monday attributed the failures in implementation of earlier schemes for cleaning Ganga river to the dual financial model between central and state governments.
The delays and failures in implementation of schemes in the past for river cleaning were mainly due to a dual financial model that is central-state financial model,
Detailed project reports not getting completed on time and lack of ownership and responsibility among stakeholders were other stumbling blocks, she said.
All these gaps are now being internalised where a new financial model of implementation is likely to emerge that ensures 100 percent central scheme and allocation of Rs.20,000 crore straight from the central pool,
Noting that cleaning Ganga was a collective responsibility, she said her ministry has a mandate to meet the river cleaning target by October 2018.
About five years ago, when Financial Times journalist and author Victor Mallet began living in Delhi, he was shocked to discover that the Yamuna — “this beautiful river of Indian legend and art” — was chocked with untreated sewage and industrial waste after it had passed through the city on its way to Mathura, Agra and on to join the Ganga at Allahabad. He wondered “how a river so sacred to so many Indians could also be so polluted and neglected” and then set out to record the plight of the Ganga.
His exhaustive journey led him to various key locations on the river, including its source at Gaumukh and Sagar Island and the Sunderbans at its mouth in the Bay of Bengal. This culminated in the publication of “River of Life, River of Death” (Oxford University Press/Rs 550/316 pages).
“My conclusion is that it is not impossible (to clean the Ganga) — but it is very difficult. Narendra Modi is the latest of several Indian prime ministers to announce plans to rescue the Ganga — in fact, I would say he has been the most fervent — but like his predecessors, he has struggled to implement these plans despite the availability of funds from India itself and from international donors such as the World Bank and Japan.
“Clearly, the Ganga has enormous problems of physical pollution from sewage, industrial toxins and pesticide run-off. Too much of the water is diverted for irrigation in the dry season, which can leave parts of the river without water before the monsoon. But with political will and public support — I don’t think anyone in India objects to saving the river — it can be done,” Mallet told IANS in an email interview from Hong Kong.
The important thing, he maintained, is to change mindsets and he noted in this context that it is quite common among devout Hindus to say: “Ma Ganga is so spiritually pure that nothing we throw in the river will sully her or make a difference.”
The author said that sensible holy men and environmentalists who care for the Ganga term this as nonsense — and the reason it’s not true is that the Ganga’s very spiritual power arises from its physical properties as a life-giver, as a provider of water and fertility.
“That’s why rivers have always been worshipped in ancient times, including in England. So if you destroy the river’s life-giving qualities through pollution, you destroy the source of her spiritual importance,” he added.
In the book, he also states that it is not impossible to clean the Ganges, “as river clean-ups in Europe and America have shown”.
Elaborating on this, he said: “When I was a child living in London, my mother always told me not to fall in the Thames because the river was so filthy that if I fell in I would have to go to hospital and have my stomach pumped! Yet today the Thames is clean — muddy, but virtually free of industrial pollution and untreated sewage — because successive governments and water and sanitation companies have stopped the pollution.
“The same is true of the Rhine in continental Europe and the Chicago river in the United States. The great thing about rivers is that you don’t have to scrub them clean — you just have to stop polluting them and the natural flow of the river does the rest.”
Mallet maintained that the record on the Ganga has so far been disappointing in terms of implementation, but hoped that there will be a change now that there is a new minister in charge.
“If you clean the Ganga by improving sanitation, you not only save the goddess, you also create thousands of jobs in infrastructure development, and save the lives of thousands of children who die each year because of bad water, poor hygiene and stomach bugs. Likewise, if India curbs its greenhouse gases — and this seems to be happening anyway because alternative energy such as solar power is now very competitive on price — then that will also help it to reduce the kind of air pollution that has recently been afflicting Delhi and the whole of North India,” he maintained.
Mallet went on to add that he learnt a lot about the mythology and the history of the river — and the history of India — in the course of his research for the book.
“In a way, India is so rich in civilisations and stories that you can never say you have completed your work as a researcher and writer. You can at least make a start, and also explain the contemporary political, social, religious and environmental issues that affect the river and the country as a whole,” Mallet said. (IANS)
Aug 12, 2017: Rishikesh, also known to be a holy city is a perfect destination to endeavor spirituality. It is one of the most sacred places in the country and what’s enticing about this destination is its unique charm and religious culture.
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It is also perceived as a medium to attain moksha while practicing yoga in the embrace of nature in Rishikesh. Many tourists visit here every year in search of attaining peace and spirituality.
Places to visit in Rishikesh:
It is a famous milestone in Rishikesh which is 450 ft length and connects two districts via the iron bridge over holy river Ganga at Rishikesh. This one is worth a watch!
The sight of Ganga Aarti is breathtaking and phenomenal as the holy river Ganga is worshipped at various Ghats. Ganga Aarti is also the heart of Rishikesh.
Neelkanth is a holy temple of lord Shiva surmounted at the height of 1300 meters. The temple located 32 km far from Rishikesh, is known to be the sacred place where Lord Shiva consumed poison and placed it in his throat at the time of Samudra Manthan.
Triveni Ghat is a sacred ghat popular for glimpsing Ganga Arti. Triveni has a spiritual whiff and outlasting ambiance.
It is one of the top yoga centers in the country. Many tourists visit this place for spiritual healing, music therapy, exercises. The ashram is open to all irrespective of the race, color, gender, and religion. It also offers over 1000 rooms equipped with all the modern facilities.
Byasi is a village situated on the outskirts of the river Ganga popularly known for adventurous water sport because of the constant flow of river Ganga.
Muni ki Reti
Muni ki Reti is another known pilgrimage for meditation and yoga. It has a literary meaning “sand of sages”, denoted as a place where sages used to mediate during archaic times.
There is nothing as serene as connecting with the tranquility of Holy River and pilgrimage of Rishikesh to devise spirituality.
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Lucknow, April 8, 2017: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Monday met Union Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Conservation Minister Uma Bharti and assured her of all support and cooperation from the state government in cleaning up the Ganga.
“The largest stretch of the river passes through Uttar Pradesh and hence it is even more the responsibility of the state to keep the river clean,” he said, while underlining that for success of the ‘Namami Gange’ project, it is necessary that its tributaries are also cleaned up.
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The entire machinery of the state will now have to work on a war footing for this purpose, Adityanath said, stressing on the need of holding meetings of heads of the development blocks, members of the local Panchayats and village heads of districts on the banks of the river so that the cleaning up of the Ganga is take up in a mission mode.
Uma Bharti said that in absence of support and cooperation in the past regimes in Uttar Pradesh, the ‘Namami Gange’ project was not achieving the desired results but now that the present government is headed by a dedicated saint like him, she was sure that the Ganga cleaning would be a success.
Union Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Conservation Secretary Amarjeet Singh said at the meeting that under the ‘Namami Gange’ project, 19 projects worth Rs 2,900 crore were being run in Allahabad, Kanpur, Varanasi, Gadhmukteshwar, Kannauj, Bulandshahr and Vrindavan through which capacity to purify 391 MLD of water would be created.
Of the 19 projects, four projects in Allahabad have been completed while work is underway on the rest. Other than this, works worth Rs 4,348 crore are proposed in the state, he said. while suggesting that the proposed works be completed on priority basis.
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Following this, the Chief Minister directed officials to ensure completion of these projects within the fixed timelines by strengthening the infrastructure and arranging for necessary facilities. He also said that the District Magistrates concerned should also be involved so that there are no hurdles in the works.
Singh also said that because of the leather industrial units in Kanpur, Unnao and Banthra, there was a lot of pollution and added that they should be treated as a cluster and pollution controlled at these places.
At this, the Chief Minister said that a decision has already been taken by the state government to shift out leather industry units out of Kanpur and Kannauj in a phased manner, which will contribute in a big way towards the success of the mission. (IANS)