National Ganga River Basin Authority

The Central Government, by a
notification dated 20.2.2009, as set up ‘National Ganga River Basin Authority’
(NGRBA)as an empowered planning, financing, monitoring and coordinating
authority for the Ganga river, in exercise of the powers conferred under the
Environment (Protection) Act,1986. The Prime Minister is ex-officio Chairperson
of the Authority, and it has as its members, the Union Ministers Concerned and the
Chief Ministers of states through which Ganga flows, viz., Uttarakhand, Uttar
Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, among others. The objective of the
Authority is to ensure effective abatement of pollution and conservation of the
river Ganga by adopting a holistic approach with the river basin as the unit of
planning. The functions of the Authority include all measures necessary for
planning and execution of programmes for abatement of pollution in the Ganga in
keeping with sustainable development needs.

 
KEY FEATURES OF THE NEW APPROACH OF NGRBA

·        
 River
Basin will be the unit of planning and management. This is an internationally
accepted strategy for integrated management of rivers. Accordingly, a new
institutional mechanism in the form of National Ganga River Basin Authority
(NGRBA) will spearhead river conservation efforts at the national level.
Implementation will be by the State Agencies and Urban Local Bodies.
·        
 The
minimum ecological flows for the entire Ganga will be determined through modeling
exercises. NGRBA will take appropriate measures in cooperation with the States
to regulate water abstraction for marinating minimum ecological flows in the river.
·        
 Attention
would also be paid to the restoration of living parts of the river ecosystem
for its holistic treatment to enable conservation of species like dolphin,
turtles, fishes and other native and endangered species in their river.

KEY FUNCTIONS OF THE NGRBA

·        
 The NGRBA
would be responsible for addressing the problem of pollution in Ganga in a
holistic and comprehensive manner. This will include water quality minimum
ecological flows, sustainable access and other issues relevant to river ecology
and management.
·        
 The NGRBA
will not only be regulatory body but will also have developmental role in terms
of planning & monitoring of the river conservation activities and ensuring
that necessary resources are available.  The NGRBA would work for maintaining the water
quality of the river Ganga upto the acceptable standards. The pollution
abetment activities will be taken up through the existing implementation mechanisms
in the States and also through Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) at the pollution
hotspots.  The NGRBA will ensure minimum
ecological flow in the Ganga by regulating water abstraction and by promoting
water storage projects.
·        
 The NGRBA
will plan and monitoring programmes for clanging of Ganga and its tributaries.
To begin with, it will concentrate on Ganga main stem.
·        
 The NGRBA
would draw upon professional expertise within and outside the Government for
advise on techno-economic issues.
·        
 The
technical and administrative support to NGRBA shall be provided by the Ministry
of Environment & Forests.

· ‘PREPARATORY STEPS’ AFTER SETTING UP
NATIONAL GANGA RIVER BASIN AUTHORITY

·        
 River
Basin Management Plan: a notice inviting Expression of Interest to start the
process of selecting an appropriate agency to prepare the Ganga River Basin
Management Plan has been issued. This has been prepared taking into account
inputs received from the Central pollution control Board and the Central Water
Commission on the scope of work to be included in the Plan. 30 proposals have been
received from leading consultants. The Consultant will be finalized shortly
after two stage selection process.
·        
 Status
Paper: the Alternate Hydro Energy Centre, IIT, Roorkee has been asked to
prepare a Status Paper on Ganga which includes the experience of the Ganga
Action Plan and the present water quality. It is being finalized. The Status
paper will be presented in the first meeting of meeting of the NGRBA.
·        
 Priority
Action plan for pollution hotspots: one of the priority functions of the Authority
is to implementation river conservation works at pollution hotspots. These
activities should commence even as the comprehensive basin management plan is
under preparation. MoEF has requested the concerned State Governments to
prepare action plans for comprehensively tackling the problem of pollution in
the Ganga at the hotspots locations, such as Hardiwar, Varansani, Ahmadabad,
Kanpur, Patna and Howrah. These plans are awaited.
·        
 SPVs as
mode of implementation: the process of consolations with State Government and
Urban Local Bodies has been started to discuss he feasibility of having SPVs in
the river clearing sector and to evolve the necessary modalities viz.
Contractual arrangements, concessions agreements, etc. A meeting was organized
on 16th June 2009 with the representatives of the State Governments and the
Heads of the Urban Local Bodies as a brainstorming session to begin the process
of identifying appropriate locations and the types of river conservation
infrastructure where SPVs would be feasible.
·        
 GIS
Mapping: The National Information Centre (NIC has been entrusted with the work
of GIS based mapping of the entire Ganga Basin. This work has already
commenced. This will help the users to view and update maps and tabular data
relating to pollution abetment works, water quality etc. and analyze the data
for monitoring and effective decision making.
·        
 Memoranda
of Agreement with States: the National Institute of Urban Affairs has prepared
a modal Memorandum of Agreement which would link flow of funds to achievement
of milestones such as measurable improvements in water quality indicators, implementation
of pre determined reform measures and provision s for O&M.
·        
 Compendium of Technologies: A Compendium of
the treatment technologies available in India and aboard is being prepared by
IIT, Kanpur. This can serve as a store house for the NGRBA and would help the
State Governments and the local authorities in choosing the appropriate
technologies depending upon the totality of local  circumstances. The compendium would be
presented in the first meeting of NGRBA.
·        
 The
States have to be at the forefront of implementation of the river conservation
programme. The Authority, therefore, provides for the State Governments to
constitute State River Conservation Authorities under the chairmanship of their
Chief Ministers. However, certain States may want the States Authorities to be
constituted under the Environment (Protection) Act in which case the
notification will have to be issued by the Central Government. A model
notification in this regard has been circulated to the State Governments for
their consideration.
·