Prime Minister Narendra Modi is caught in a somewhat awkward situation of his own devising. In the lead-up to the 2014 polls, and in the aftermath as well, he laid great emphasis on the Ganga’s value, both symbolic and otherwise. His promise to clean it up was both laudable and a good piece of political theatre.
But the importance he publicly attached to the clean-up project also means that its failure so far has been all the more embarrassing.
Despite the Union cabinet clearing an outlay of Rs.20,000 crore over the next five years last May, there has been little to show for it so far.
That makes the latest initiative—looking at technologies for cleaning drains before they empty into the Ganga—all the more important. It is past time the administration showed concrete progress. After all, the river is the economic and environmental lifeline of large swathes of northern India.