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Re: [StephenKnappNewsList] The New Clean Up the Ganges Project

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  • Venkata krishnan
    Ganga and Cauvery should be connected. A British ICS Officer submitted the Blueprint of the Plan connecting the Ganga and Cauvery wayback in 1885 to the then
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 8, 2012
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      Ganga and Cauvery should be connected. A British ICS Officer submitted the Blueprint of the Plan connecting the Ganga and Cauvery wayback in 1885 to the then British Rulers of India which has been negleted and put in the backburner  by the British Rulers and successive Indian Governments since, India 1947 Independence till date. The first step is , all Indian Rivers should be nationalised. I have been insisting and advising all these for decades.
      B.C.VENKATAKRISHNAN

      From: "srinandan@..." <srinandan@...>
      To: StephenKnappNewsList@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Thursday, June 7, 2012 3:54 AM
      Subject: [StephenKnappNewsList] The New Clean Up the Ganges Project
       

       
      May 21, 2012, 7:19 am

      A River Runs Through It

      By DAN MORRISON
      A man praying in the Ganges River in May 2004.European Pressphoto AgencyA man praying in the Ganges River in May 2004.
      KOLKATA, India — India is embarking on an expensive last-ditch attempt to restore the heavily polluted Ganges River basin, home to 400 million people. The cleanup will take decades and cost tens of billions of dollars. The World Bank, which has already ponied up $1 billion in loans and grants, classifies it as “high” risk.
      Despite the risk — the dangers posed by corruption, incompetence and political parochialism — the National Ganges River Basin Project is a great idea, one that could improve the health of millions of people while also boosting India’s economy.

      The project is unprecedented in its complexity. Other dying rivers, including the Rhine and the Danube, have seen pricey turnarounds, but experts say they were child’s play compared with the challenge of restoring the Ganges.
      The Ganges River runs through five separate states, each of them poor, each governed by a different political party, each rife with corruption. Most of the money for the Ganges cleanup will go to the authorities of those states, and of dozens of grimy towns, for the construction of sewage treatment plants and other infrastructure. The biggest and most populous of the Ganges states, Uttar Pradesh, has in recent years become a giant crime scene, as politicians and bureaucrats have looted hundreds of millions of dollars — some say billions — in health funds and food subsidies.
      Even if corruption weren’t a factor, local administrators are the plan’s weakest link: most don’t have the skills to manage big projects. And there are far too few of them. India has only one-fifth of the civil servants per capita that the United States has.
      Fixing the river will also require more efficient agricultural practices. One of the biggest factors in the Ganges’ decline is the volume of water diverted to irrigation: a whopping 90 percent. Getting farmers to switch to water-efficient crops and methods will be a major challenge.
      Then there’s tradition. Millions of Hindu pilgrims will have to be persuaded to cease dumping idols, beads and corpses in the river. These practices account for five percent of the river’s pollution.
      India tried reviving the river once before, and failed. The 1985 Ganges Action Plan cost $250 million over 20 years and succeeded in treating only 35 percent of the raw sewage then pouring into the river. Population growth has reversed many of those gains, as has poor maintenance of the infrastructure created during that effort.
      One difference today is that the public seems to be on board. In a damning 2007 report on the shortcomings of the first Ganges cleanup, the environmentalist Rakesh Jaiswal lamented that “environmental concerns in India continue to be the burden of a few green crusaders.” But thanks to a recent spate of high-profile hunger strikes, the river is grabbing headlines and airtime.
      The Indian government says it has learned from past mistakes in planning and execution. The World Bank claims transparency and audits can suppress corruption. The expertise of the country’s seven Indian Institutes of Technology has also been harnessed to the task.
      So, is a Ganges cleanup worth the trouble? Absolutely. The price tag and the risks may be high, but the cost of doing nothing would prove even greater.
      Across the Ganges basin, water-borne diseases cost families $4 billion a year. Delivering clean water to hundreds of millions of households could have an explosive effect on public health and productivity. Here’s one example: a single $43 million plan to connect the homes of 300,000 mostly poor residents of Kanpur to a treatment plant built during the first cleanup would save $13 million in health expenses every year, according to the World Bank.
      Cleaning up the Ganges isn’t just choosing to save the river over watching it expire. It’s choosing hope over cynicism, and the progressive India everyone wants over the corrupt and mediocre one citizens so frequently get.
      Against the evidence, I’m betting on the good.


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