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Clean Ganga Mission given more powers; new Council mooted

New Delhi : The Union Cabinet has decided to give more teeth to the Clean Ganga Mission. The move is aimed at providing a fillip to projects being undertaken to rejuvenate the river.

The Cabinet has decided to replace the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) with a new National Council on River Ganga. The National Council for River Ganga (Rejuvenation, Protection and Management) will be chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and will be responsible for superintendence of pollution prevention and rejuvenation of Ganga Basin.

Also, the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) has been strengthened and elevated to the level of an ‘Authority'. This will allow NMCG to enforce pollution laws and penalise defaulters, who pollute the river.

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) had the power to penalise defaulters.

In the new structure, the NMCG will have a two-tier management structure with a governing council (GC), to be chaired by Director General NMCG.

Below the GC, there will be an executive committee (EC) constituted out of the GC, which will also be chaired by the DG-NMCG.

NMCG will comply with the decisions and directions of the National Ganga Council and implement the Ganga Basin Management Plan approved by it; co-ordinate and carry out all activities necessary for rejuvenation and protection of River Ganga and its tributaries, a Government statement said.

The new structure will not only give more power to the NMCG for environmental protection and rejuvenation of Ganga, it will also ensure proper co-ordination with the local bodies and compliance with the directions of NMCG for pollution abatement in the river.

NMCG will, however, take action only in the event when required action is not taken by CPCB. CPCB will also take action jointly with NMCG under the provisions of said Act.

A special focus of the revamped structure is also to maintain required ecological flows in the Ganga with the aim of ensuring water quality and environmentally sustainable development.

“There is adequate delegation of financial and administrative powers which will distinctly establish NMCG as both responsibility and accountability centre and effectively accelerate the process of project implementation for Ganga Rejuvenation,” the statement added.

To monitor the implementation of the mission’s action plans, the Centre has also set up a task force under the Union Water Resources Minister to ensure coordination among the concerned departments and state governments.

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