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Mother Ganga is again calling PM Modi!

News Agencies | Updated on: 17 May 2017, 18:24 IST
Ganga River

The Ganga in Varanasi is again calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi to change his slogan from Clean Ganga to Save Ganga.

Modi announced "Ma (mother) Ganga has called me" before he filed his nomination papers as the Bharatiya Janata Party ( BJP) candidate from Varanasi Lok Sabha Constituency on April 24, 2014.

As a Prime Minister designate, Modi on May 18, 2014 performed Ganga Aarti at the Dashashwamedh Ghat and said, "I vow to make Varanasi and Ganga clean".

To transform his promise into action, PM Modi also added Ganga's rejuvenation in the Water Ministry portfolio. He entrusted the responsibility of Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation to Uma Bharti.

He also earmarked Rs 20,000 crore ' Namami Gange' fund to clean India's most sacred river, and promised to give more funds as and when required.

However, a reality check after three years tells a different story which the Prime Minister and environmentalists definitely won't like.

In March this year, Uttarakhand High Court accorded the status of "living human entities" to the Ganga and Yamuna, two of India's most sacred rivers.

But, the people living on the banks of Ganga say that the river has become "dirtier and dry". In Varanasi alone, the untreated, dirty water of thirty-two drains falls into Ganga.

Dr B.D. Tripathi, River Scientist, rued that no new sewage water treatment plant was installed in Varanasi.

He added that recent sampling of the Ganga water tells that neither enough water is in the Ganga, nor enough oxygen in Ganga water.

"The first and foremost need is to increase the water level in the Ganga, but till now no planning in this regard has been formulated," Tripathi told ANI.

He said that now instead of Clean Ganga, a drive to Save Ganga should be started as "the Ganga is struggling for its existence".

He was of the view that "those people who are extracting water from the Ganga should be brought before the courts".

Tripathi said that one of the main problems in the conservation of the Ganga is that "no particular person is accountable for the failures. Till the accountability is fixed, nothing is going to happen".

He demanded that the top level officers working for the Ganga conservation should have a minimum posting for five years.

"As we brief the officers sitting in Delhi about the problem and when the work starts, they get transferred," said Tripathi.

Govind, Corporator, Assi Ghat in Varanasi, told ANI that the policy makers must take suggestions from Ganga's two sons: priests and fishermen.

"The pathetic condition of the Ganga has killed tourism prospects," said Govind.

Swami Jitendranand Saraswati, National General Secretary, Ganga Mahasabha, also highlighted the transfers of the officers of the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) as a big hurdle in the Ganga Conservation.

"Till now four directors of the NMCG directorate board have been transferred. Those who replace them start afresh and when they start work, they also are transferred," said Saraswati.

Saraswati was highly critical of the Union Minister Uma Bharti and alleged that 'she would be responsible for breaking the dreams of Prime Minister Modi".


First published: 17 May 2017, 18:24 IST