More central funds to flow into Ganga projects

A billion-dollar loan expected from WB by April 2011 to clean Ganga


Neha Sethi | November 3, 2010

Centre will now contribute more funds in projects to clean the Ganga and maintain its environmental health, Jairam Ramesh, the environment minister said on Tuesday. He said that the national Ganga river basin authority (NGRBA) in its meeting on Monday decided that 70 percent of the operation and maintenance (O&M) costs of projects will be borne by the Centre for five years. This cost was completely borne by the states previously. The Centre will continue to bear the capital costs for these projects.

Ramesh also said that the NGRBA ratified the decisions of the ministerial committee to shelve Loharinag Pala, Bhaironghati and Pala Maneri projects along the Bhagirathi. “The authority has decided that work on the Loharinag Pala will not be suspended but will be abandoned,” Ramesh added.

The minister said that the second important decision of the authority included the decision that the 135-km stretch of the Ganga from Gaumukh to Uttarkashi will be an eco-sensitive zone. This means that no hydel project will be allowed there, he added.

Ramesh also said that certain activities will be prohibited in this stretch on the basis of an eco management plan which will be prepared. “A monitoring committee will be formed to oversee the plan,” Ramesh added.

“The government expects a billion dollar line of credit by April 2011,” Ramesh said while talking of the World Bank loan for NGRBA projects. Last year the NGRBA approved Rs 1,400 crore worth of projects.

He said that a conservation plan for the Gangetic dolphin had also been released by the prime minister, who is the chairman of the NGRBA.



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