Kanpur: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has personally contributed a total of Rs 16.53 crore to the Clean Ganga Fund (CGF). The figure includes all the money he has donated towards the fund since 2014, inculuding the prize money of the Seoul Peace Prize. The amount realized from the auction of gifts he received since 2014 and the prize money of the Seoul Peace Prize ($2,00,000). The Clean Ganga Fund (CGF) has been set up by the Modi Government to facilitate contributions from individuals, NRIs, corporate entities for funding Ganga rejuvenation projects.
PM Modi‘s contribution towards the Clean Ganga Fund shows his seriousness towards the Ganga clean up mission. Meanwhile, Modi chaired the first meeting of his second tenure as PM, of National Ganga Council in Kanpur and reviewed projects of pollution prevention and rejuvenation of River Ganga Basin, including Ganga and its tributaries.
7700 crore spent since 2015
Modi said in the meeting that rejuvenation of Ganga has been a long-pending challenge for the country. He noted that a lot had been accomplished since the Government took up ‘Namami Gange’ 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.
Out of Rs 20,000 crore (for the period 2015-20) committed for the Namami Gange project, Rs 7700 crore has been spent so far. The outlay has prominently been for the construction of new sewage treatment plants.
‘Namami Gange’ to ‘Arth Ganga’
PM Modi said that ‘Namami Gange’ evolves to ‘Arth Ganga’. Arth Ganga stands for a sustainable development model of keeping the Ganga clean 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. Priority could be given to women Self Help Groups and ex-servicemen organizations for these programs. Such practices, along with the creation of infrastructure for water sports and development of campsites, 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.