Andhra Pradesh cadre IAS officer Rajat Bhargava has been appointed as the Mission Director, National Mission on Clean Ganga (MNCG), nearly 10 months after the post fell vacant due to shifting of his predecessor TVSN Prasad. He is the third person to hold the post in last two years.
While an official order from the DoPT about Bhargava’s appointment is awaited but he has already started familiarizing himself with the work related to Ganga cleaning and has held some meetings with other officials.
Bhargava, a 1990 batch officer, was posted in finance ministry as Joint Secretary (Budget) before being shifted to Ministry of Water Resources in September 2015. He has been on central deputation since April 24, 2012 and his five-year term will end on April 23, 2017. Before Prasad, IAS officer R R Mishra was reportedly removed over slow pace of Ganga cleaning work.
According to ministry sources, frequent changes at the top post are hampering the smooth working of the Ganga cleaning programme.
“It takes minimum six months for someone new to understand the work and before that person gets a hang of it, he is shifted out. It is very important that a Mission Director stays for substantial time for the work to take off,” the sources added.
Bhargava is likely to stay as Mission director, unless moved out before, for only a year with his central deputation ending April 2017.
The NDA government in 2014 launched ‘Namami Gange’ project to bring back the past glory of the river and prime minister is personally taking stock of the progress in the project. PM is unhappy over not much progress made as far as Ganga cleaning is concerned and only cosmetic work has happened in last two years of NDA rule.
The Union Cabinet has approved of Rs 20,000 crore for the next five years for ‘Namami Gange’ Program which integrates the efforts to clean and protect the Ganga river in a comprehensive manner.
The ministry has devised a three phase plan spanning for nearly 18 years at Rs 51000 crore to clean the river. The short term plan slated to take off in next six months include stopping open nallahs from falling into the river, restriction industrial and chemical discharge into the river among others.