Governance Now Masterminds

Israel ready to help India check Ganga pollution

Will provide technological knowhow in collaboration with the IITs

trithesh

Trithesh Nandan | March 14, 2012



Israel has offered to help India clean up the river Ganga by providing the technological knowhow. “The Indian municipal bodies have to think about the local ecosystem and local needs, and then Israeli companies can fit into those projects,” head of environmental science and ecology section of the Israeli ministry of trade and labour Yehonatan Bar-Yosef told Governance Now in an interview here on Wednesday.

Israel hopes to enter into an accord with the Indian government for the project. “Next month, we may sign a memorandum of understanding with India. The IITs are seeking technological collaboration with us,” he added.

Bar-Yosef advocated treating India’s holiest river at the source of pollution itself. “You need to map the pollution sources and conduct very intensive investigation at there,” he said.

The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) have been at the forefront of planning environmental management of the river for a complete restoration. The river is 2,510 km long and provides sustenance to 45 crore people through its course through several north Indian states and Bangladesh.

Bar-Yosef also held that Indian policy makers should not get discouraged at the size of the plan. “It is a very challenging project but possible,” he said.

Revered by the Hindus, the river has been in desperate need of cleaning. The government plans to pump in Rs 15,000 crores to be spent in the next ten years in efforts to check and reverse the pollution the river currently endures. In 2011, India got a $ 1 billion loan from World Bank to finance the first major clean up phase.

A study conducted by the Uttarakhand Environment Protection and Pollution Control Board (UEPPCB) slotted river water into four categories: A —  fit for drinking, B — fit for bathing, C — for agriculture, and D — for excessive pollution level. UEPPCB gave the rive a category D ranking.

In 2009, the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) was set up as the nodal agency to oversee the planning, financing, monitoring and coordinating authorities which would ensure effective abatement of pollution and conservation of the river. However, few members of NGRBA resigned recently accusing the government of being insensitive and insincere towards cleaning the river.

 
 

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