Kanpur (UP): Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired the first meeting of the National Ganga Council here on Saturday and said that rejuvenation of the river should be a shining example of cooperative federalism.
He also reviewed the progress of works under the ambitious Namami Gange project in the stretch of the river that is considered the most polluted, and deliberated on various aspects of cleaning the river with focus on ‘swachhta’, ‘aviralta’ and ‘nirmalta’.
According to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office, at the meeting Modi observed that the Ganga is the holiest river in the sub-continent and its rejuvenation should embody a shining example of cooperative federalism.
Noting that the rejuvenation of the river has been a long-pending challenge for the country, he said a lot has been accomplished since his government took up the Namami Gange project in 2014 as a comprehensive initiative integrating various governmental efforts and activities to abate pollution, and conserve and rejuvenate the river.
According to officials, the government had made a commitment of providing Rs 20,000 crore for the period 2015-20 to the five states through which the Ganga passes, to ensure adequate and uninterrupted flow.
Rs 7,700 crore has already been spent, prominently for construction of sewage treatment plants, they said.
According to the PMO statement, Modi emphasised that an improvement in the framework for Nirmal Ganga would require the fullest cooperation from the public at large and generating greater awareness through dissemination of best practices from cities situated on river banks.
It said the meeting was of the view that efficiency of District Ganga Committees should be improved in all districts, in order to provide an effective framework for expeditious implementation of plans.
The government has set up the Clean Ganga Fund (CGF) to facilitate contributions from people, NRIs and corporate entities for funding Ganga rejuvenation projects, the statement said.
The PM has personally donated Rs 16.53 crore to CGF, from the amount realized from auction of the gifts he received since 2014 and the prize money of the Seoul Peace prize, it said.