Ahead of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections slated for early next year and a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited his Lok Sabha constituency, Varanasi, the Expenditure Finance Committee on Monday approved projects worth nearly Rs. 3,000 crore for the government’s flagship programme, Namami Gange.
This is the biggest-ever approval for projects meant to clean up the Ganga — till now a total of Rs. 4,000 crore has been spent on cleaning the river through many governments since 1985. A decision has been taken to fast-track the integrated Ganga conservation programme, a year after the Union Cabinet approved it in May 2015. Mr. Modi, who launched on Sunday environment friendly e-boats at the Assi Ghat of the Ganga in Varanasi, is expected to review the progress after the end of the current session of Parliament.
Uma Bharti meets CM
In a series of steps planned to speed up implementation, Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti met Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav in Lucknow on Sunday.
A meeting of the general body of the National Mission for Clean Ganga has also been called next Monday, a senior Ministry official told The Hindu .
This will be the first meeting of the body since it was set up in 2010. The post of its Mission Director that had been lying vacant for months was filled last week.
“Momentum is being built in the programme so that the river can be cleaned by 2018…while it will not be possible, by then, to put in place sewage networks connecting every house in the cities along the course of the river, it will be ensured that sewage will be intercepted in every town at the main drains and treated,” the source said.
Rajat Bhargava, a Joint Secretary in the Water Resources Ministry, has been appointed the new Mission Director.