Tue, 22 Sep 2020

Kanpur (Uttar Pradesh) [India], Dec 14 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired the first meeting of the National Ganga Council (NGC) here on Saturday.

The NGC is aimed at reinforcing the importance of a Ganga-centric approach in all departments of the concerned states as well as relevant Central ministries, an official release said.

During the meeting, the Prime Minister emphasised that an improvement framework for clean Ganga would require the fullest cooperation from the public at large and greater awareness through dissemination of best practices from the cities situated along the banks of national rivers.

He noted that a lot had been accomplished since the government took up 'Namami Gange' initiative in 2014 as a comprehensive initiative integrating various government efforts and activities with the aim of pollution abatement, conservation and rejuvenation of Ganga, notable achievements being zero waste creation by paper mills and reduction in pollution from tanneries.

"But much more needs to be done," said Prime Minister Modi.

"The NGC has been given overall responsibility for the superintendence of pollution prevention and rejuvenation of Ganga river basin, including Ganga and its tributaries," the release said.

The efficiency of District Ganga Committees should be improved in all districts in order to provide an effective framework for expeditious implementation of plans, added he.

Prime Minister Modi urged for a holistic thinking process where 'Namami Gange' evolves to 'Arth Ganga' or a sustainable development model with a focus on economic activities related to Ganga.

As a part of this process, farmers should be encouraged to engage in sustainable agriculture practices, including zero budget farming, planting of fruit trees and building plant nurseries on the banks of Ganga, he suggested.

"Priority could be given to women Self Help Groups and ex-servicemen organisations for these programmes. Such practices, along with the creation of infrastructure for water sports and development of camp sites, cycling and walking tracks etc, would help to tap the 'hybrid' tourism potential of the river basin area- for purposes of religious as well as adventure tourism. The income generated from encouraging eco-tourism and Ganga wildlife conservation and cruise tourism etc. would help to generate sustainable income streams for cleaning of Ganga," the release said.

The meeting was attended by Union Ministers for Jal Shakti, Environment, Agriculture and Rural Development, Health, Urban Affairs, Power, Tourism, Shipping and Chief Ministers of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar, Vice Chairman Niti Aayog and other senior officials.

West Bengal government was not present in the meeting and Jharkhand did not participate because of the ongoing elections and the Model Code of Conduct being in force. (ANI)

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