NEW DELHI: Government was committed to ensuring a continuous and uninterrupted flow of Ganga from Gangotri to Ganga Sagar and there would be no shortage of fund for the Ganga Rejuvenation Progamme, Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti today said.
Speaking at Ganga Manthan, the National dialogue on Ganga, she said a positive outcome is expected on the project after discussions with various stakeholders.
Describing Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the "modern day Bhagirath", Bharti said it was only because of him that deliberations were held later and notification of bringing Ganga into Water resources ministry was done first.
"I had kept a suggestion for Ganga during BJP's national council and everybody raised one hand in favour. Narendra Modi had raised both his hands. Then I understood how much involvement he (Modi) had with Ganga," she said.
The day-long dialogue has been organized by National Mission for Clean Ganga which is being attended by delegates from different parts of the country and abroad. She said her ministry would work with sincerity on the outcome of this dialogue. "We have had a series of discussions with various stakeholders on the issue and will soon arrive on some positive outcome," she said, adding, "There won't be any shortage of funds for Ganga Rejuvenation Progamme."
She also said that her government does not believe in fake secularism but a true sense of it.
"When I use the word 'sant samaj', I am not only talking about Hindu saints but all saints. I am not using the name of religion (dharm) because we do not fake secularism. We believe in the true sense of secularism. So when we used the word religion, it takes along everybody," she said.
Union Road Transport and Shipping minister Nitin Gadkari, who was also present on the occasion, said that a strong political will is the biggest strength of this project. "If there is a will, there is a way and if there is no will, there is only survey, discussion, seminar, committee, sub committee and research group," he said.
Gadkari said his ministry has a proposal for navigation of small ships between Varanasi and Hoogly on river Ganga.
It is proposed to conduct dredging to provide a width of 45 meters and five meters draft (depth) to enable navigation of small ships between Varanasi and Hoogly on river Ganga.
He said barrages cum bridges are proposed to be constructed at every 100 Kms on the river and the ministry has sent the proposal to World Bank for development of Allahabad- Haldia corridor.
"We might get Rs 4000 crore for this project and it is in the last stage," Gadkari said.
Noting that tanneries in Kanpur and other such cities dump polluted water into Ganga, Gadkari said inflow of polluted water must be stopped to ensure a clean Ganga and suggestions have come for recycling of polluted water and using it in agriculture, industry and gardens of that area.
"If we had to take the estimated cost of this entire project, it would take Rs 80,000 crore. Government does not have so much money. We suggested to Uma Bharti that 25-30 per cent of that money will be paid through viability gap, 70 per cent people will invest through PPP model and after cleaning the water after recycling, they will sell that water," he said.
Giving an overview of the plans for development of river Ganga as a major tourism destination, Tourism and Culture minister Shripada Yasso Naik said tourist spots will be developed all along the banks of Ganga from Gangotri to Ganga Sagar.
Naik also said that his ministry is exploring the possibility of introducing shikaras on Ganga.
The Ganga Manthan dialogue will have four different sessions on "Ganga and Sanskriti" (for spiritual leaders), "Public Participation for Ganga" (for public representatives and administrators), "Aviral and Nirmal Ganga" (for NGOs and environmentalists) and "Comprehensive and Sustainable Solutions" (for Academicians & Technocrats).