All 42 rivers covered under the National River Conservation Plan (NRCP) should come under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation (MoWRRDGR) to evolve an integrated approach for conservation of water resources, the finance ministry has proposed.
The Cabinet Secretariat has sought the comments of both MoWRRDGR and the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) on the proposal.
Sources in the environment ministry confirmed that they have received the Cabinet Secretariat’s letter but are yet to send back their comments.
The water resources ministry under Uma Bharati looks after the Ganga and its 11 tributaries. Management of the remaining 30 rivers under the NRCP, as well as work on pollution control in them, is the MoEFCC’s responsibility at present.
The management of the 42 NCRP rivers were given to separate ministries after the Narendra Modi government came to power in anticipation of smoother operation. Sources, however, said the move has led to an increase in mismanagement since funds for river development go to MoWRRDGR while the NRCP staff work under MoEFCC.
Only two projects ? Sabarmati Phase-II and Mutha-Mulla river project in Pune ? have been sanctioned till date under NRCP by the Modi government, but funds are yet to be released.
According to sources, the finance ministry wrote to the Cabinet Secretary on November 16 last year about the need to transfer the NRCP and the Directorate to MoWRRDGR in a bid to “ensure integrated approach at national level”. On December 4, the Cabinet Secretariat wrote to both ministries for their comments. While MoWRRDGR has repeatedly demanded this in internal meetings, the MoEFCC is yet to write back to the Cabinet Secretariat.
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