NEW DELHI: Foreign countries are making a beeline for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi to participate in the Clean Ganga Mission. Among the contenders to clean the river are Japan, Germany, Australia and Israel.
Germany, which initially wanted to clean the Ganga at Varanasi, seems to have now agreed to carry out the drive at Kanpur, Patna and Kolkata. An MoU in this regard is expected to be signed during German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s India visit from October 4-6. Earlier this year, Germany decided to provide three million Euros to support the Ganga rejuvenation plan. Germany is known for cleaning the river Rhine, which was once Europe’s most polluted waterway. It will share its experience and expertise in the Clean Ganga Mission. The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) has identified 11 major towns along the Ganga’s course for cleaning up ghats. “Many foreign countries have shown interest in the massive Ganga cleaning and rejuvenation programme announced by the government. Most have shown interest in Varanasi, but Japan has already signed an agreement for the holy city,” said a senior NMCG official.
He added that countries have been informed that the Ganga also needs cleaning at other cities. “Ganga cannot be clean until unless pollution is controlled from its origin to its end. There are many heavily polluted cities along its course. Germany was also interested in partnering for Varanasi, but after discussions, they seem agreeable to taking up the work in Kanpur, Patna and Kolkata,” he said. The Prime Minister’s ‘Namami Gange’ programme has many takers. During Modi’s Japan trip in 2014, both countries signed a deal partnering Japan’s old imperial capital Kyoto with Varanasi. The deal provides for all-round cooperation in heritage conservation, Ganga rejuvenation, city modernisation and cooperation in art, culture and academics.
India’s key defence partner Israel has also offered to provide water treatment and management technology to India, and sent a delegation in August. Israel is a pioneer in water treatment technology.