When will the Ganga become clean?
Cleaning the Ganga is expensive and difficult to administer. The previous NDA minister did virtually nothing for 3 years. Now, Gadkari, who is more pro-active, says that they do not have enough money — they want private companies to pitch in funds.
“Bigger cities such as Kanpur and Mathura pollute the Ganga more. We will start 150 projects by March 2018 to check discharge of polluted water into the Ganga based on recycling,” he said.
In other words, the NDA government has done virtually nothing since May 2014.
In July 2017, there was a report that the government has spent over Rs 7,000 crore in two years to cleanse the Ganga which still remains a “serious environmental issue”, the National Green Tribunal said. That’s over USD 1 billion.
It is worth noting that the idea of cleaning the Ganga has been around for decades. Even the UP spent money on it.
In 2012, the New York Times reported:
India is embarking on an expensive last-ditch attempt to restore the heavily polluted Ganges River basin, home to 400 million people. The cleanup will take decades and cost tens of billions of dollars. The World Bank, which has already ponied up $1 billion in loans and grants, classifies it as “high” risk.
And, earlier, when Rajiv Gandhi was the Prime Minister:
India tried reviving the river once before, and failed. The 1985 Ganges Action Plan cost $250 million over 20 years and succeeded in treating only 35 percent of the raw sewage then pouring into the river. Population growth has reversed many of those gains, as has poor maintenance of the infrastructure created during that effort.
I don’t like to be pessimistic. The rationale for cleaning the Ganga is clear. The funds needed are large, but I think India can afford it. In fact, India cannot afford to leave it dirty. What is needed is the political will and hard, persistent work. Is it there now?