India’s mission to clean the Holy river of Ganga got a major boost when it was announced that World bank may give India a $ 3bn aid to clean up the river. Ganga water forms the source of drinking water as well as water for agricultural purposes for millions of Indians and its continued pollution was not just causing harm to the river but was also leading to health risks.
Environment and Forest Minister Jairam Ramesh after the first meeting of the newly formed National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) has confirmed that India is expecting an aid from the World Bank soon. “We are hopeful of clinching an agreement with the World Bank, as the President of the World Bank will visit India in December. The preliminary indications from the World Bank are very positive,” Ramesh said.
It has been decided that all the sewage treatment projects will be put on fast track and the states will prepare projects for most polluted places near the Ganges in their state. Major polluting sources for the river has been the industrial discharges, sewage, pesticides and the rotting remains of dead bodies and states have been asked to look at ways of minimizing the same.
What now remains to be seen is whether the recent initiatives will really bear fruit or they will act as a hogwash, much similar to the previous attempts to clean the river. Corruption has been one major hindrance in the efforts to clean up The Ganges as money allotted for the cleaning purposes often goes to the home of officials involved. But let’s just hope that this time around sincere efforts will be made to clean what was, is and will remain the most sacred river of India.