India today joined hands with Germany to attain "pristine" status of Ganga by adopting river basin management strategies used for cleansing rivers like Rhine and Danube of pollutants.
Ministry of Water Resources and German International Cooperation (GIZ), owned by the German Federal Government, signed an agreement in this regard here today.
The agreement was signed in the presence of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation secretary Shashi Shekhar and German Ambassador to India Dr Martin Ney.
The objective of the agreement is to enable responsible stakeholders at national and state levels to apply integrated river basin management approach for Ganga's rejuvenation, the Ministry said in a statement.
"Initial actions will focus on Uttarakhand, with scope of expansion to other upstream Ganga States. The ultimate goal is to adopt successful river basin management strategies used for Rhine and Danube and replicate the same, wherever possible for attaining pristine status of river Ganga," it said.
The agreement will be based on "Indo-German Knowledge Exchange" and practical experience on strategic river basin management issues, effective data management system and public engagement, it said.
The project will closely cooperate with other national and international initiatives including Indo-German bilateral projects like 'Support to National Urban Sanitation Policy (SNUSP)' and 'Sustainable Environment-friendly Industrial Production' (SEIP).
The duration of the project is three years, from 2016 to 2018, and German contribution it will be to the tune of Rs 22.5 crore, it said.
Speaking on the occasion, Ney said his country understands the "devotion and cultural importance" of Ganga and will do its best to bring back "Mother Ganga to its pristine glory".
Thanking the German Government, Shekhar said the European country's technical know-how will be "immensely fruitful" in pollution abatement of Ganga.
"Now onwards, we will move at a much faster pace for cleaning of river Ganga," Shekhar was quoted as saying.
'Namami Gange' is the Union government's flagship programme that aims at reducing pollution and conserving the river. The government has solicited support from various countries to rejuvenate Ganga.
Government of Germany, with its experiences in cleaning and rejuvenating European rivers such as Rhine, Elbe and Danube rivers, was keen to join hands for collaboration with Government of India, the statement said.