Although Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been a firm believer in the principle of ‘less talk and more action’, , he has been very vocal against the pollution of the Ganga.
While chairing a meeting of the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) at the 7 Race Course Road here in November 2010, the PM had expressed his desire to see not only a clean (‘Nirmal Dhara’) Ganga but also a continuously flowing (‘Aviral Dhara’) Ganga.
And the 30 participants concurred with the PM and vowed to work towards realising the dream.
Three years later and approximately Rs 2,600 crore of taxpayers’ money down the drain, the tall promise of turning the sewage water into a pollution free flow remains little more than just wishful thinking.
The NGRBA was formed in February 2009 with the Prime Minister as its chairman to protect the country’s longest river and to maintain its natural flow through comprehensive planning and management. However, the authority has met only thrice in the past four years.
The other prominent members of the authority include Union Minister of Water Resources Harish Rawat; Power Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia;Minister for Urban Development Kamal Nath and Minister for Environment & forests, Jayanthi Natarajan, besides deputy chief of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia and the Chief Ministers of Uttarakhand, Bihar, UP, Jharkhand, West Bengal and 7 environment experts.
NGRBA member Rajendra Singh told Express that the authority is almost defunct as the Prime Minister has no time to attend its meetings.
“The Ganga has become more polluted in the last four years of the NGRBA’s existence. I raised several issues in the last three meetings and even gave a dissenting note on construction activities in the Upper Ganga region. I have been requesting the PM to allow time for attending a meeting but I guess he is busy and has no time for issues which have cascading effects,” he said.