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Saturday, October 3, 2009

World Bank to fund $1 bn for cleaning Ganga river

As Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is all set to make another serious bid to clean up the river Ganga, the World Bank has agreed in principal to make available $1 billion for the purpose.

"We are talking of a long term billion dollar commitment for the newly created National Ganga River Basin Authority, a body headed by the Prime Minister, which will take up the task of cleaning up river Ganga in a much more systematic and serious manner than has been the case so far," Ramesh said.

Prime Minister Singh is scheduled to hold a meeting in New Delhi Monday. The final decision in this regard is expected to be taken when the World Bank President Robert Zoellick visits India in December.

Ramesh said in principle there has been approval that the World Bank will support the project. India has already spent Rs 960 crores in the last 20 years to clean the river Ganga but it no cleaner today than it was two decades ago.

"Obviously, we have to do things differently then we have done things so far," he said.

Noting that 75 per cent of the pollution in the river Ganga comes from municipal sewage and another 25 per cent comes from industrial effluents, he said both requires to be controlled in a much larger and wider way than has been the case so far.

"The World Bank support would be a major element in bringing fair amount of resources as far as cleaning the Ganga River is concerned," Ramesh said.

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