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Nitish, Kejriwal target Modi, back each other

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New Delhi: Chief Ministers Nitish Kumar and Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday shared a stage here and took on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, demanding special status for Bihar and full statehood for Delhi.

At a function to honour select people from Bihar living in Delhi, both Kejriwal and Nitish Kumar hit out at Modi on issues ranging from One Rank One Pension (OROP) to black money.

Senior-JD-U-leader-Nitish-Kumar-640x360Speaking a day after Modi announced Rs.1.25 lakh crore for Bihar, the Aam Aadmi Party leader said: “If the PM has so much money, he should first meet the demand of soldiers demanding OROP.”

He also wanted to know if the prime minister would give the money to Bihar only if the Bharatiya Janata Party wins the coming assembly election or even if it loses.

In a sarcastic tone, the Delhi chief minister said: “I wonder whether he (Modi) will give even 1.25 paise to Bihar.”

Expressing support to Nitish Kumar and his Janata Dal-United in the Bihar elections, Kejriwal urged the people of the state to “create history”.

Echoing Nitish Kumar’s repeated demand, Kejriwal said Bihar should get special status so that it makes rapid economic development.

Nitish Kumar, who received a rousing welcome at the event, listed the achievements of the Bihar government, saying it was developing in double digits and the school dropout rate had fallen steeply.

“Even then they call Bihar a BIMARU (sick) state,” he said, referring to a term Modi used in an election speech. “And they comment on my DNA.”

“Give Delhi the status of a full state, and give special status to Bihar,” he said.

Kejriwal also spoke at some length about the problems he has been having with the central government over the Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) in Delhi.

“For the past 23 years, the ACB was with the Delhi government. But from June 8, the BJP government used the paramilitary to capture it.

“The chief minister of Delhi has no control over the ACB now,” he added.

Thanking the Bihar chief minister for sending honest officers to work in Delhi’s ACB, Kejriwal said: “People of Bihar have to choose between a (state) government which is helping to strengthen the ACB and a (central) government which wants to capture it.”arvind-kejriwal-crazynews.in3_1

Nitish Kumar said both he and Kejriwal were targeted by Modi and they must help each other in every respect.

The JD-U leader said he invited Kejriwal to Bihar to speak on the public delivery system. Kejriwal said he has accepted the invite.

In recent months, Nitish Kumar has met Kejriwal at least four times while visiting Delhi.

(IANS)

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A Clean Ganga Not Possible Without Continuous Flow: Green

Bandyopadhayay stressed that the future of the Ganga, as well as that of its tributaries, depends on how quickly the transformation is made

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The Holy River Ganga in Haridwar, Source: Pixabay

By Bappaditya Chatterjee

The Centre’s efforts to rejuvenate the Hindu holy river have failed to impress environmentalists, who feel a clean Ganga will remain a distant dream due to the Modi government’s failure to ensure the continuous flow of the river.

“Nothing has been done for ensuring a continuous flow of the river and also for its rejuvenation by the Narendra Modi government. Continuity is of supreme importance as the holy river has been admitted in the Intensive Care Unit for many years. But the Centre is trying to treat its teeth,” said Magsaysay awardee and a member of the erstwhile National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA), Rajendra Singh.

Spending crores of rupees for beautification of ghats has been “wastage of the public exchequer” because “without ensuring a continuous flow, clean Ganga will continue to remain a distant dream”, said Rajendra Singh, who goes by the sobriquet “Waterman of India”.

 

Ganga, travel
River Ganga is one of the holiest rivers in India. Pixabay

Soon after assuming office, the Modi government rolled out its flagship “Namami Gange” mission at an estimated budget Rs 20,000 crore to clean and protect the Ganga.

 

Under Namami Gange, 254 projects worth Rs 24,672 crore have been sanctioned for various activities such as construction of sewage infrastructure, ghats, development of crematoria, river front development, river surface cleaning, institutional development, biodiversity conservation, afforestation, rural sanitation and public participation.

According to the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, 131 projects out of 254 were sanctioned for creating 3,076 MLD (million litre per day) new sewage treatment plants (STPs), rehabilitating 887 MLD of existing STPs and laying 4,942 km of sewer lines for battling pollution in the Ganga and Yamuna rivers.

 

River Ganga is one of the holiest, yet the most polluted river.
River Ganga is also the most polluted river.

Till November-end of the 2018-19 fiscal, the National Mission for Clean Ganga released Rs 1,532.59 crore to the states and the Central Public Sector Undertakings for implementing the programme and meeting establishment expenditure.

Rajendra Singh said: “Ganga wants freedom today. There is no need for any barrage or dam. We want building of dams and any constructions on the river be stopped.”

 

Echoing Singh, another member of the now dissolved NGRBA, K.J. Nath, said the flow of the river had been obstructed at many locations and its own space (flood plains) encroached upon at multiple places in the name of riverfront development.

However, Jayanta Bandyopadhayay, a former Professor of IIM-Calcutta and presently Distinguished Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation, said the success or otherwise of initiatives and projects of any government in cleaning the Ganga cannot be judged in a five-year time frame.

Also Read: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Inaugurates Bogibeel Bridge Over Brahmaputra River

Managing a river like the Ganga, the lifeline of a very large number of people, is socio-technically a very complex issue and should be addressed with deep interdisciplinary knowledge, he added.

Bandyopadhayay stressed that the future of the Ganga, as well as that of its tributaries, depends on how quickly the transformation is made from the one dimensional perspective of rivers by engineers, political leaders, policymakers and others to a multidimensional and interdisciplinary one. (IANS)