Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired the first meeting of the National Ganga Council in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh on Saturday. The Council which has been given overall responsibility for the superintendence of pollution prevention and rejuvenation of River Ganga Basin, including Ganga and its tributaries held its first meeting aiming to reinforce the importance of a ‘Ganga-centric’ approach in all departments of the concerned states as well as relevant Central Ministries. The meeting was attended by Chief Ministers of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, Yogi Adityanath and Trivendra Singh Rawat, respectively and several Union Ministers. However, West Bengal and Jharkhand could not participate due to the enforcement of Model Code of Conducted in the respective states owing to the ongoing elections.
Powered by a holistic thinking process and people centric efforts, we want the ‘Namami Gange’ initiative to embody the spirit of ‘Arth Ganga’ whereby focus is on sustainable development as well as economic activity related to the Ganga in a wide range of sectors. pic.twitter.com/muzWqisbgm— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 14, 2019
Reflecting upon the government's initiative of 'Namami Gange' PM Modi said that rejuvenation of Ganga has been a long-pending challenge for the country. He emphasized that an improvement in the framework for Nirmal Ganga would require the fullest cooperation from the public at large and greater awareness through the dissemination of best practices from cities situated along the banks of national rivers. "Efficiency of District Ganga Committees should be improved in all districts, in order to provide an effective framework for expeditious implementation of plans," said PM Modi. The Prime Minister 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 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 said.
A press release by the Government of India stated that the government has set up the Clean Ganga Fund (CGF) to facilitate contributions from individuals, NRIs, corporate entities for funding Ganga rejuvenation projects. PM Modi has personally donated Rs. 16.53 crores to CGF, from the amount realized from the auction of the gifts he received since 2014 and the prize money of the Seoul Peace Prize.
Prior to the meeting on Saturday, PM Modi paid floral tributes to legendary freedom fighter Chandrashekhar Azad and viewed an exhibition on ‘Namami Gange’ interventions and projects at the Chandrashekhar Azad Agriculture University. Later in the day, Prime Minister visited Atal Ghat and also inspected the successfully completed work of cleaning at Sisamau Nala.