Comprehensive plan to clean Ganga by 2020: Centre tells SC



Comprehensive plan to clean Ganga by 2020: Centre tells SC New Delhi: A comprehensive plan under "Mission Clean Ganga" was being prepared to ensure that the river will be free from the flow of untreated municipal sewage and industrial effluents by 2020, the Centre told the Supreme Court today.

The Ministry of Environment and Forest said that for attaining the objective, IITs have been roped in to prepare a comprehensive "River Basin Management Plan" for Ganga and the investment required for creating the necessary infrastructure will be shared by the Centre and state governments.

The World Bank has also promised finacial assistance for the project.

It said steps have already been taken in that direction and by a notification on February 20, 2009, National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) which is empowered for planning, financing,, monitoring and coordinating authority for river Ganga.

The Prime Minister is the ex-officio Chairperson of the authority with union ministers concerned as its members and Chief Ministers of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, the states through which rives Ganga flows.

"The first meeting of NGRBA was held on October 5 last year under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister. It was decided in the meeting that under Mission Clean Ganga it will be ensured that by 2020 no untreated municipal sewage and industrial effluents flow into Ganga," a 6-page affidavit placed by Attorney General G E Vahanvati before a Bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia said.

"Investments required to create necessary treatment and sewerage infrastructure over the next ten years will be shared suitably between the Centre and the state governments," the affidavit said.

The affidavit was filed in the apex court which is monitoring the plan to clean Ganga since 1985.

"A comprehensive River Basin Management Plan for Ganga is being prepared. This work has been entrusted to a consortium of seven IITs. In this regard, a Memorandum of Agreement has been signed on July 6 this year," the affidavit said.

The government also submitted that the World Bank has also assured financial assistance in the project.

"Discussions have been initiated with the World Bank for long-term support. An assistance of one billion US dollor has been indicated in the first phase by the Bank," the Centre said in its affidavit.

The Bench, also comprising Justices K S Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar, adjourned the hearing asking advocate Krishan Mahajan, who is assisting the court as amicus curiae in the matter, to examine the documents placed by the Centre and place before it a note on the issue.

PTI