In 2014, Modi’s BJP strongly campaigned for the cleaning of the river Ganga. When they ascend to the power, they allocated huge funds for the cleaning of Ganga. Namami Gange was the name given to the project. It was an utter failure. According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), only one out of 39 locations through which the Ganga river flows had clean water in the post-monsoon period this year. In the recent revelation, an RTI by The Wire states that there has not been even a single meeting of the National Ganga Council (NGC) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi thus far. Is our government really serious about Ganga?
The NGC was formed in October 2016. Its purpose is to preserve, protect and manage the Ganga river waters. On October 7, 2016, a notification issued by the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation stated that the NGC should hold one or more meetings every year, at its discretion.
However, information obtained from the National Clean Ganga Mission, an organisation under the water ministry, has revealed that more than two years since its formation, the NGC has not held a single meeting. The NGC is perhaps the largest committee overseeing work being done towards cleaning the Ganga.
With the formation of the NGC, the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) was dissolved. The functioning of the NGRBA was similar to the NGC, and the prime minister was the chairman of the NGRBA as well.
The NGRBA was formed after the Congress-led UPA government came to power in 2009. Its first meeting was held on October 5, 2009, under the chairmanship of then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
From 2009 to 2012, there were three meetings of the NGRBA which Manmohan Singh presided over. After this, there were three meetings between 2014 and 2016, out of which two meetings were presided over by then water minister Uma Bharti. The March 26, 2015 meeting of the Authority was chaired by Modi.
Modi ji used to blame the previous governments about the ill health of the river. (Read here) They might be as Ganga wasn’t polluted in his tenure. But the point is that he promised people and he failed to deliver. Results though do not matter but zero efforts wasn’t expected.
The condition of Ganga is pathetic. Despite this, the committee is not meeting once. The government is just ‘allocating funds’ in order to show people that they care. Not holding a single meeting, hardly any improvement in the pollution level tells a totally different story. And that story is not what our Prime Minister wants us to know.