State-level utilization of funds and assets created through Ganga Action Plan - Report by Planning Commission for the Supreme Court (2009)

The report was prepared by the Water Resources Division, Planning Commission in response to a Supreme Court directive to verify whether the funds allocated to Ganga Action Plan (GAP) had been duly utilized by the States. The report is based on data obtained from Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and field visits made to plant sites in Uttarakhand, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

The questions addressed in the report relate to:

  • Objectives and approach of the Ganga Action Plan;
  • Outcome in terms of water quality of Ganga;
  • Status of waste water treatment;
  • Effectiveness in spending the allocations;
  • Recent initiatives and future recommendations.

The report alludes to empirical studies which suggest that water quality had improved only marginally due to inadequate flow in the river owing to water extraction for various purposes including irrigation, drinking water supply and industrial use. The sewage treatment capacity created and the inadequacies in the system like irregular power supply, absence of connections between domestic sewage drains and Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs), failure of States to provide for maintenance costs of STPs etc., were discussed. It hints at poor utilization of allocated funds, inadequate maintenance of created assets, insufficient funds and improper planning.

Finally, the decision, inter alia, to declare Ganga as a national river and to form a National Ganga River Basin Authority, as an empowered, planning, implementation and monitoring authority for the river is also touched upon.

Post By: Amita Bhaduri