Forest and Power ministries to study Bhagirathi power projects

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New Delhi, Oct 5 (ANI): The first meeting of the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) has asked Union Environment and Forest, and Power ministries to jointly study the issue of hydro electric projects in the upper reaches of Bhagirathi and submit the report to the authority by 60 days.

There are three power projects are proposed by the Uttarakhand Government in Loharinag Pala , Pala Maneri and Bhairon Ghati.

NGRBA's meeting which was chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was attended by Uttarakhand Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Union Urban evelopment Minister Jaipal Reddy, Water Resources Minister Pavan Kumar Bansal, Environment and Forest Minsiter Jairam Ramesh and Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia.

The meeting also approved the Clean Ganga mission, which would ensure that by 2020 no untreated municipal sewage and industrial effluents flow into Ganga.

Currently there is a sewage treatment capacity of only about 1000 million litres per day (mld) against 3000 mld sewage being generated in the towns along Ganga. An estimated investment of Rs 15,000 crores over next 10 years will be required to create the necessary treatment and sewerage infrastructure.

The NGRBA also approved that Centre and States will provide the required resources for the Clean Ganga mission.

The meeting decided to prepare comprehensive river basin management plan by December 2010.

The Authority asked the Union Environment and Forests Ministry to work with state governments to prepare specific action plans for dealing with problem of industrial pollution in Ganga Basin by January 31, 2010.

The meeting decided to constitute a Standing Committee of NGRBA under the Chairmanship of Union Finance Minister to meet more frequently and review implementation, and a steering committee under the chairmanship of Union Environment Secretary for fast track clearance of projects on Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) lines.

The Authority was set up in February, 2009 under the Environment (Protection) Act as an empowered Authority to adopt a new holistic river basin approach to the cleaning of the river Ganga and address the issue of minimum ecological flows, besides pollution abatement works. (ANI)

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