Dissolve Central Water Commission to save Ganga: Experts

The Central Water Commission should be disbanded, experts and activists said at India River Week (IRW)-2018. This will be one of the many demands in the Citizens Report from IRW-2018 for rejuvenation of the Ganga.

According to the experts, the panel has too much on its plate and it needs to go for a better regulatory framework. “It is a body which is doing multiple jobs—collecting data, making policies, giving technical and financial approvals to various projects, monitoring and what not. It is not capable of doing all this,” Ravi Chopra, head of Dehradun-based People Science Institute, said.

Long- and short-term measures to save Ganga (Experts views):

For restoring the e-flows, all proposed projects in the Ganga River Basin should be canceled. The construction of all projects in the headstreams of the river should also be canceled.

Among medium-term measures, old dams should be decommissioned. The inland waterways and riverfront development projects should be withdrawn as they are harming the Ganga.

An autonomous institute for the Ganga should be established rather than a one controlled only by the government.

On the policy front, a national river policy and a separate national urban water policy to govern the urban use of water resources should be put in place.

No use of machinery to extract sand and other boulders from the riverbed should be proposed.

To improve the base flows, improve upon crop pattern and better irrigation methods.

Other suggestions include- reducing groundwater extraction from the Ganga, promoting rainwater harvesting, ensuring better functioning of existing sewage treatment plants in the Ganga basin (to ensure clean river), comprehensive Ganga law on the lines of the draft given by late GD Agarwal, establishing protected zones in origin stretches of all major rivers and tributaries (for biodiversity conservation), teaching ecology in all science and engineering curricula across the country and studying of climate change impacts on the Ganga, among many others.

Central Water Commission is a premier Technical Organization of India in the field of Water Resources and is presently functioning as an attached office of the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development, and Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of India.

The Commission is entrusted with the general responsibilities of initiating, coordinating and furthering in consultation of the State Governments concerned, schemes for control, conservation, and utilization of water resources throughout the country, for purpose of Flood Control, Irrigation, Navigation, Drinking Water Supply and Water Power Development. It also undertakes the investigations, construction, and execution of any such schemes as required.

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