Cabinet clears World Bank assistance to clean up Ganga

The cabinet committee on economic affairs today approved a Rs4,600-crore World Bank loan to finance an eight-year project to clean the River Ganga.

The cleaning up of the river, large stretches of which have been contaminated by industrial effluents and personal waste,  will be implemented by the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) at an estimated cost of Rs7,000 crore.

Of this, the central government  will bear an estimated Rs5,100 crore, while the state governments of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal will be pool in the reemaining Rs1,900 crore.

The World Bank has agreed in-principle to provide a loan assistance of $1 billion to the centre for the ambitious project to clean up the 2500km river, and will form part of the central share of the project. The duration of the project will be eight years.

NGRBA was constituted in February, 2009 as an empowered planning, financing, monitoring and coordinating authority for the Ganga River under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

The objective of the NGRBA, which is chaired by the prime minister, is to ensure conservation of the river Ganga and to maintain environmental flows by comprehensive planning and management, adopting a river basin approach.