Government does not intend to “disband” CWC or CGWB, but has plans to make them “more effective”, Union Minister Uma Bharti said today as she sought to dispel concern among personnel attached to these bodies over their existence after a panel suggested subsuming them into a new organisation.
The panel led by Mihir Shah, formed last year to suggest ways to restructure the Central Water Commission and the Central Ground Water Body (CGWB), has in its report submitted to the Water Resources Ministry last month recommended subsuming the two bodies into new National Water Commission (NWC).
The suggestion though has sparked concerns among engineers attached to CWC and CGWB over the existence of the bodies.
“We have not talked about disbanding any body, we are trying to make them more effective. I take Mihir Shah’s views seriously…We (people in the country) have abused the resource of water so much that we need to take immediate steps to see that it is valued and used judicially,” the Water Resources Minister told reporters.
Asked if she is suggesting the report has been accepted, Bharti said the report is only at the “presentation-level” and a meeting has been convened to discuss the same on August 24, wherein engineers attached to both the bodies will be present.
“The entire department will listen to Shah at that meeting. Hence, we can not offer a definite answer now (whether the report has been accepted or not) a as debate is going on it,” she said.
Seeking to allay the engineers’ concerns, Special Secretary in the Ministry, Amarjit Singh, said that among other issues, the report calls for managing properly country’s surface and groundwater, pitches for planning river basin at organisation level, improving flood management and managing urban waste.
NWC, as proposed in the report, will advise states on how much water is available with them and ways to spend it judicially. “So there is nothing which should lead to issues. We have to find a mechanism by which CWC and CGWB can be re-oriented to address these issues. And that should not be a problem,” he said.
CGWB is mandated with developing and disseminating technologies and monitoring and implementing national policies for scientific and sustainable development and management of country’s ground water resources.
CWC is responsible for coordinating and furthering, in consultation with state governments concerned, schemes for conservation and utilisation of water resources across the country for purposes of flood control, irrigation, drinking water supply and power development.