New Delhi, Feb 27 : Union Minister for Water Resources, Rivers Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Nitin Gadkari on Thursday expressed the confidence that River Ganga will be pristine in 13 months.
Addressing the Clean Ganga Movement programme here where several luminaries appealed for generous donations to the Clean Ganga Fund, Mr Gadkari said that at the rate river projects were being completed, he can now assure the nation that Ganga will become ``nirmal and aviral’’ in 13 months.
He said Rs 27,000 crore had been sanctioned for Ganga cleaning in the last four and a half years, against just Rs 4000 crore in the last 50 years.
Of the 276 projects sanctioned, 82 had been completed. Of 145 ghats, 70 had been renovated and work on 53 mukti dhams was near-completion.Work had begun on 40 Ganga tributaries and major drains, which will be essential for complete cleaning of the river, he said.
The Ministry, in coordination with the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), organised the event to raise funds for the Clean Ganga Trust of which Union Minister for Finance Arun Jaitley is the ex-officio Chairman.
Mr Jaitley said Clean Ganga Mission had always been on the agenda of the government and this has resulted in clean Ganga during the ongoing Kumbh for which people have complimented the government.
“Ganga is not just a natural resource, it is a witness to the country’s history, its culture and civilisation. It is also the lifeline for thousands of fishermen, boatmen and other people living on its banks,’’ he said.
Mr Jaitley said, `` The events of last 24 hours have shown that the country has got the confidence of its capacity and identity, the cleaning of Ganga will too be done in 12 months, not 13 and it will be written in golden words in history.’’
Mr Gadkari said the Trust had so far received contributions to the tune of Rs 500 crore of which Rs 400 crore was in cash.
Last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had donated all of the prize money of Rs 1.04 crore that he received for his Seoul Peace Award. He has also pledged the proceeds from auction of some of the gifts he received from State heads during his visits abroad.
The Minister appealed to citizens to contribute generously to the Trust so that they have a sense of participation in the cleaning of Ganga.
“I want that over one crore people of India contribute to the fund so that there is awareness and people feel they played a part in the cleaning of the river,’’ he said as he thanked industrialists, diplomats and other luminaries who participated in the event.
At the function, Mr Jaitley, Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmenda Pradhan, Ministers of State Arjun Ram Meghwal and Satya Pal Singh and Member of Parliament from Mathura Hema Malini announced contribution of Rs one lakh each to the Trust. She said she had prepared a dance performance on Ganga and pledged the proceeds for the Clean Ganga Trust.
Mr Gadkari has already donated Rs one lakh personally.
Water Resources Secretary and Chief of National Mission for Clean Ganga also announced their contribution of Rs 25,000 and Rs 50,000 respectively.
Punjab National Bank Chairman Sunil Mehta declared a contribution of Rs 2 crore. Some other donors from Mumbai also announced generous donations.
On her part, world renowned boxer and Member of Parliament Mary Kom made an appeal to sportspersons to contribute to the fund for cleaning Ganga.
Among those who attended the event were song writer of Kartavya Ganga Anthem and Chairman of the Central Board of Films Certification Prasoon Joshi and Trichur brothers Srikrisuna Mohan and Ramkumar Mohan.
On the occasion books were released on Biodiversity Profile of Ganga and Conservation Reference Guide on aquatic life in Ganga, Ganga Tarini on Floating Museum and Ganga Darpan on the history of the river.
A Pravasi Ganga Prahari Programme was launched as an appeal to Non-Resident Indians to contribute to the Clean Ganga Fund. (UNI)