Starry Ganga Expedition
Ganges River

Introduction


Introduction
The Ganga (गगां) is a major river of the Indian subcontinent rising in the Himalaya Mountains and flowing about 2,510 km (1,560 mi) generally eastward through a vast plain to the Bay of Bengal. On its 1,560-mi (2,510-km) course, it flows southeast through the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and West Bengal. In central Bangladesh it is joined by the Brahmaputra (ब्रम्हपुत्र) River and Meghna rivers. Their combined waters (called the Padma River) empty into the Bay of Bengal and form a delta 220 mi (354 km) wide, which is shared by India and Bangladesh. Its plain is one of the most fertile and densely populated regions in the world. The Ganges alone drains an area of over a million square km with a population of over 407 million. Millions depend on water from the holy river for several things: drinking, bathing, agriculture, industry and other household chores .


Ganga river known as Ganga Maata or Mother Ganges

Is revered as a goddess whose purity cleanses the sins of the faithful and aids the dead on their path toward heaven. In most Hindu families, a vial of water from the Ganga is kept in every house. It is believed that drinking water from the Ganga with one's last breath will take the soul to heaven. Hindus also believe life is incomplete without bathing in the Ganga at least once in their lifetime.Description: http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcS29MsAGDHslwSBE8gILI_Q96VBF6uJZNsFOY0pcmW0mpZ6YoEFwwDescription: http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcS29MsAGDHslwSBE8gILI_Q96VBF6uJZNsFOY0pcmW0mpZ6YoEFwwDescription: http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcS29MsAGDHslwSBE8gILI_Q96VBF6uJZNsFOY0pcmW0mpZ6YoEFwwDescription: http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcS29MsAGDHslwSBE8gILI_Q96VBF6uJZNsFOY0pcmW0mpZ6YoEFwwDescription: http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcS29MsAGDHslwSBE8gILI_Q96VBF6uJZNsFOY0pcmW0mpZ6YoEFwwDescription: http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcS29MsAGDHslwSBE8gILI_Q96VBF6uJZNsFOY0pcmW0mpZ6YoEFwwDescription: http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcS29MsAGDHslwSBE8gILI_Q96VBF6uJZNsFOY0pcmW0mpZ6YoEFwwDescription: http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcS29MsAGDHslwSBE8gILI_Q96VBF6uJZNsFOY0pcmW0mpZ6YoEFwwDescription: http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcS29MsAGDHslwSBE8gILI_Q96VBF6uJZNsFOY0pcmW0mpZ6YoEFwwDescription: http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcS29MsAGDHslwSBE8gILI_Q96VBF6uJZNsFOY0pcmW0mpZ6YoEFwwDescription: http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcS29MsAGDHslwSBE8gILI_Q96VBF6uJZNsFOY0pcmW0mpZ6YoEFww 

Some of the most important Hindu festivals and religious congregations are celebrated on the banks of the river Ganga such as the Kumbh Mela or the Kumbh Fair and the Chhat Puja.  Kumbh Mela (कुम्भ मेला) is  the largest religious gathering on Earth for Hindu peoples, where around 70 million Hindus from around the world participated in the last Kumbh Mela at the Hindu Holy city Prayaga (also known as Allahabad).

The upper Ganges supplies water to extensive irrigation works. The river passes the holy bathing sites at Haridwar, Allahabad (where the
Yamuna river enters the Ganga), and Varanasi. Below Allahabad the Ganges becomes a slow, meandering stream with shifting channels. Because of its location near major population centers, however, the river is highly polluted. The Ganga collects large amounts of human pollutants as it flows through highly populous areas. These populous areas, and other people down stream, are then exposed to these potentially hazardous accumulations. 



Ganga India's National River
The mighty Ganga is not only the river but much more to the millions for whom the Ganga is a symbol of faith, hope, substance and sanity. Therefore the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh declared on November 4, 2008 that henceforth the Ganga would be known as India's 'national river'. 
 
The Prime minister has also announced the proposal to set up a separate high powered Ganga River Basin Authority to stop its pollution and degradation. Chaired by the Prime minister, the authority would have as the members the chief ministers of states through which the river flows, besides working closely with ministers of water resources, environment and forests, urban development and others as well as agencies working on  river conservation and pollution management. 
  
The first Prime Minister of India  Jawaharlal Nehru wrote in his book  "The Ganges, above all, is the river of India which has held Indias heart captive and drawn uncounted millions to her banks since the dawn of history.
The story of the Ganges, from her source to the sea, from old times to new, is the story of Indias   civilisation and culture, of the rise and fall of empires, of great and proud cities, of adventures of man."  
 
The Ganga will be pure and free of pollutants by 2020, the Centre promised before the Supreme Court on October 23, 2010. Without dwelling on the past when nearly 1,000 crore was spent under the failed Ganga Action Plan initiated in the late 1980s, attorney general G E Vahanvati assured a Bench comprising Chief Justice S H Kapadia and Justices K S Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar that the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) headed by the prime minister would deal with river pollution in a comprehensive manner. 
 
In a significant step on November 1, 2010, the government has given in-principle nod for declaring the 135-km stretch of the Ganga between Gaumukh and Uttarkashi as an eco-sensitive zone seeking specific activities to protect the rich biodiversity of the region.
 
The National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) in its meeting held on November 1, 2010 also approved discontinuation of 3 hydro projects,-Bhaironghati, Pala Maneri and NTPC's Loharinag Pala proposed on the river. 
 
On April 28, 2011 the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the Project for cleaning of River Ganga to be implemented by the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) at an estimated cost of Rs. 7000 crore. The share of Government of India will be Rs 5100 crore and that of the State Governments of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal will be Rs 1900 crore. 
 
On June 28, 2011 Indian officials signed an agreement with the World Bank to use a $1 billion loan to finance the first major new effort in more than 20 years to cleanse the revered Ganges, one of the world’s dirtiest rivers. The long-awaited loan is part of a government project that aims to halt the discharge of untreated wastewater into the river by 2020. The project, founded in 2009, replaced the 1986 Ganga Action Plan, the last large-scale attempt to address the pollution. That initiative was able to introduce waste water treatment in certain areas, it failed to halt raw waste disposal into the Ganges.
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Source of Ganga River
In the Uttarakhand Himalayas where glacial water flowing from a cave at Gaumukh, is the origin of the Bhagirathi river. Gaumukh has been described as a desolate place at an altitude of about 4,000 meters (13,000 feet). Twenty-three kilometers from Gaumukh, the river reaches Gangotri, the first town on its path.
 
Thousands of visitors come to Gangotri each year, from every part of the world. Gangotri  is situated at a height of more than 10,000 feet in Uttarkashi district, is one of the four shrines of Badrinath, Kedarnath and Yamunotri commonly called Chardham. So far nearly 3.50 lakh tourists have visited the shrine this year 2010. The shrine, dedicated to Goddess Ganga, is closed in October-November every year as the area remains snow-bound during the winters. The idol of Ganga is kept in nearby Mukhba village for worship during the period. The shrine reopens for pilgrims in April-May next year.
 
The river which joins the Alaknanda river at Devaprayag, also in the Uttarakhand Himalayas, to form the Ganga. The Ganga then flows through the Himalayan valleys and emerges into the north Indian plain at the town of Haridwar. 


Recent pictures taken by Google Earth via satellite have confirmed that an eight-km stretch of the Bhagirathi river has dried up. The river is shown snaking through the Himalayan mountains as one long, sandy stretch minus any water. Other rivers emanating from the Gangotri glacier, including the Bhilangana, the Assi Ganga and the Alaknanda, all tributaries of the Ganga river, are also drying up.  
 
Since the river Ganga (Bhagirathi) is still emanating from the ice cave (Gaumukh) of Gangotri Glacier, no steps are required to be taken at present for bringing back the flow of river Ganga. As far as the recession of the glacier is concerned it is a part of natural phenomena and cannot be stopped by using short term artificial measures. This information was given by Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Shri Kapil Sibal, in a written reply to a question by Shri Vijoy Krishna in the Lok Sabha on April 29, 2008.

Ganga River in Plains
On its 1,560-mi (2,510-km) course in plains, Ganga flows southeast through the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and West Bengal. The Ganga passing  some of the most populous cities of India, including Kanpur , Allahabad, Varanasi, Patna, and Kolkata.  The Yamuna, which originates less than a hundred miles east of the Bhagirathi, flows parallel to the Ganga and a little to the south for most of its course before merging with the Ganga at the holy city of Allahabad, also known as Triveni Sangam. New Delhi, capital of India, and Agra, site of the Taj Mahal, are two of the major cities on the 
Yamuna river 
 
The largest tributary to the Ganga is the Ghaghara, which meets it before Patna, in Bihar, bearing much of the Himalayan glacier melt from Northern Nepal. The Gandak, which comes from near Katmandu, is another big Himalayan tributary. Other important rivers that merge with the Ganga are the Son, which originates in the hills of Madhya Pradesh, the Gomti which flows past Lucknow, and then meets with the river Chambal. 
 
On its way it passes the towns of Mirzapur, Varanasi, Patna and Bhagalpur.  At Bhagalpur, the river meanders past the Rajmahal Hills, and beings to change course southwards. At Pakaur, the river begins its first attrition with the branching away of its first distributary, the River Bhagirathi, which goes on to form the River Hooghly. Close to the border with Bangladesh, the Farakka Barrage, built in 1974 controls the flow of the Ganges, diverting some of the water into a feeder canal linking the Hooghly to keep it relatively silt free.
 

After entering Bangladesh, the main branch of the Ganges is known as Padma River till it is joined by the Jamuna River the largest distributaries of the Brahmaputra. Further downstream, the Ganges is fed by the Meghna River, the second largest distributaries of the
Brahmaputra (ब्रम्हपुत्र) River and takes on its name. Fanning out into the 350 km (220 mi) wide Ganges Delta, it empties out into the Bay of Bengal. The delta of the Ganga, or rather, that of the Hooghly River and the Padma, is a vast ragged swamp forest (42,000 sq km) called the Sundarbans world’s largest Ganga delta.       


Pollution in Ganga River
Ganga finds its name in the list of the five most polluted rivers of the world. In certain areas in Ganga river  the bacteria levels are more than 100 times higher than the limits set by the government. From washing clothes to dumping bodies, the river's purity is maligned every day and in spite of the alarming levels of pollution, people continue to use the water to drink and take a bath.
 
Today, over 29 cities, 70 towns, and thousands of villages extend along the Ganga banks. Nearly all of their sewage - over 1.3 billion liters per day - goes directly into the river, along with thousands of animal carcasses, mainly cattle. Another 260 million liters of industrial waste are added to this by hundreds of factories along the rivers banks. Municipal sewage constitutes 80 per cent by volume of the total waste dumped into the Ganga, and industries contribute about 15 percent. The majority of the Ganga pollution is organic waste, sewage, trash, food, and human and animal remains. Over the past century, city populations along the Ganga have grown at a tremendous rate, while waste-control infrastructure has remained relatively unchanged. Recent water samples collected in Varanasi revealed fecal-coliform counts of about 50,000 bacteria per 100 milliliters of water, 10,000% higher than the government standard for safe river bathing. The result of this pollution is an array of water-borne diseases including cholera, hepatitis, typhoid and amoebic dysentery. An estimated 80% of all health problems and one-third of deaths in India are attributable to water-borne diseases.
 
The sacred practice of depositing human remains
in the Ganga also poses health threats because of the unsustainable rate at which partially cremated cadavers are dumped. In Varanasi, some 40,000 cremations are performed each year, most on wood pyres that do not completely consume the body. Along with the remains of these traditional funerals, there are thousands more who cannot afford cremation  and whose bodies are simply thrown into the Ganga. In addition, the carcasses of thousands of dead cattle, which are sacred to Hindus, go into the river each year. An inadequate cremation procedures contributes to a large number of partially burnt or unburnt corpses floating down the Ganga. 
 
Hundreds of corpses burn on the line of wooden pyres. Soot-covered men bustle about, raking in the still-glowing ashes, sweeping them into the river.  Gray dust from the pyres floats atop the waves, mixing with flower garlands and foam. The dust and debris resurfaces some distance away, this time, intermixed with polythene bags, empty cans and dirty clothes. This is the holy Ganga at its holiest spot Varanasi. 
 
The industrial pollutants also a major source of contamination in the Ganga. A total of 146 industries are reported to be located along the river Ganga between Rishikesh and Prayagraj. 144 of these are in Uttar Pradesh (U.P.) and 2 in Uttrakhand. The major polluting industries on the Ganga are the leather industries, especially near Kanpur, which use large amounts of Chromium and other toxic chemical waste, and much of it finds its way into the meager flow of the Ganga.  From the plains to the sea, pharmaceutical companies, electronics plants, textile and paper industries, tanneries, fertilizer manufacturers and oil refineries discharge effluent into the river. This hazardous waste includes hydrochloric acid, mercury and other heavy metals, bleaches and dyes, pesticides, and polychlorinated biphenyls highly toxic compounds that accumulate in animal and human tissue.  
 
The tannery industry mushrooming in North India has converted the Ganga River into a dumping ground. The tanning industry discharges different types of waste into the environment, primarily in the form of liquid effluents containing organic matters, chromium, sulphide ammonium and other salts. According to the information obtained from the UP State Pollution Control Board, there are 402 tanneries operating in the city Kanpur of which 65 were closed  On September 17, 2010 issuing notices to  253 tanneries operating in the city, the State Pollution Control Board has asked them to comply with central norms to curb pollution within 15 days or face  consequences.
 
Ganga is getting polluted day-by-day. Nearly 170 factories and tanneries located between Kannauj and Varanasi, covering an area of 450 km, were found responsible for polluting the river by discharging wastes into it without treatment. In 1996, the Supreme Court had banned the discharge of effluents from various tanneries and factories located on its banks in Kanpur. The tanneries of Kanpur are responsible for  seven per cent pollution in the river.
 
However, industry is not the only source of pollution. Sheer volume of waste - estimated at nearly 1 billion litres per day - of mostly untreated raw sewage - is a significant factor.  Runoff from farms in the Ganga basin adds chemical fertilizers and pesticides such as DDT, which is banned in the United States because of its toxic and carcinogenic effects on humans and wildlife. Damming the river or diverting its water, mainly for irrigation purposes, also adds to the pollution crisis. Atmospheric deposition of heavy metals emitted from  vehicles and presence of industrial units adjoining the Ganges is adding to the pollution load on the river, researchers have found on May 2010.


   

 
Illegal Mining in and around the Haridwar, boulders abutting the river are being removed for construction, causing damage to the river's banks and bed. Tractors and trucks often just drive through the bed in the dry season. Recently the Swami Nigamanand sacrifice to save the Ganga who was protesting against mining in the Ganga. 
 
Decades-long efforts by the government to breathe life into Ganga through massive clean-up programmes have come to naught. Consider this: Over Rs 1,000 crore have been pumped into the Ganga Action Plan I and II between 1985 and 2000, but Indias holiest river is still sullied. Discharge of untreated wastewater from towns along Ganga constitutes the major source of pollution load for the river. Against the estimated wastewater generation of around 3000 million liters per day (mld) from towns along the river Ganga, sewage treatment capacity of 1025 mld has been created so far under the Ganga Action Plan.  
 

On July 19, 2011 a Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) report on the Bhagirathi river's quality of water, one of the main tributaries of the Ganga in Uttarakhand, warns of an increase in pathogenic contamination at some of its key pilgrimage and tourist spots because of open defecation and seepage of sewage from septic tanks, toilets and hotels. The pollution is acute in Gangotri, Uttarkashi, Dharashu-Chinyalisaur and Devprayag where there has been an increase in human settlements along the river bank, the report says. These are also the places where people take the holy dip and perform other religious rituals
.


Ganga Action Plan
An expenditure of Rs. 896.05 crore has been incurred so far under the Ganga Action Plan for conservation and pollution abatement of river Ganga.Discharge standards have been notified for industries under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. The State Pollution Control Boards/ Pollution Control Committees have been empowered under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 to take appropriate action against defaulting industries. The Central Government has constituted the National Ganga River Basin  Authority (NGRBA) in February, 2009 as an empowered authority under Section 3 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 for conservation of the river Ganga. This information was given by the Minister of State for Environment and Forests Shrimati Jayanthi Natarajan in a written reply in Rajya Sabha on August 30, 2011. 
 
After two Ganga Action Plans failed to deliver the goods, seven major IITs of the country have joined hands to find ways to clean up the national river. After perusing a report submitted by the seven IITs, namely IIT Kanpur, Mumbai, Guwahati, Delhi, Kharagpur, Chennai and Roorkee, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests has asked them June 10, 2010 to prepare a work plan for National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) in the next 18 months.
 
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on June 10, 2010  approved a proposal for carrying out the second phase of Ganga Action Plan worth Rs.496.90 crore with Japanese assistance at Varanasi.
 
The Ganga Action Plan (GAP) was initiated by the late Prime Minster Indira Gandhi, who called for a comprehensive survey of the situation in 1979. In 1985, the government of India launched the Ganga Action Plan, which was devised to clean up the river in selected areas by installing sewage treatment plants and threatening fines and litigation against industries that pollute. 
  
The 2006 official audit of the Ganga Action Plan has revealed that it has met only 39 per cent of its sewage 
treatment target. Moreover, the plan is behind schedule by over 13 years. According to the legal counsel, Central Pollution Control Board, Mr Vijay Panjawani, even after spending Rs 24,000 crore, the Ganga remains dirty as ever.
 

A total of Rs.740.11 crore has been released to different States so far for implementation of schemes for the river Ganga under Ganga Action Plan (GAP). The GAP Phase – I, the first attempt of the Government of India to undertake pollution abatement works in the river Ganga, was launched in the year 1985 with the objective of treating 882 million litres per day (mld) of sewage and improving its water quality to bathing class standards. This Phase was declared completed in March, 2000 with the creation of sewage treatment capacity of 865 mld. Since GAP Phase – I did not cover the pollution load of Ganga fully, GAP Phase – II which includes plans for its major tributaries namely, Yamuna, Gomti, Damodar and Mahananda, besides Ganga, was approved in stages from 1993 onwards. The above two phases of Ganga Action Plan have continued since their inception with GAP-I having been completed in 2000 and GAP-II is presently under implementation. 
 
A total of 146 industries are reported to be located along the river Ganga between Rishikesh and Prayagraj. 144 of these are in Uttar Pradesh (U.P.) and 2 in Uttrakhand. Of the grossly polluting industries in U.P., 82 industries have installed Effluent Treatment Plants (ETPs) and are reported to be complying with the standards, 27 industries, though have installed ETPs are not reported to be complying with the prescribed standards and 35 industries are reported to have been closed. The Central Pollution Control Board has issued directions to the State Pollution Control Boards under Section 18 1(b) of Water Act, 1974 for taking appropriate legal action against the defaulting industries. In the State of Uttrakhand, of the 2 Grossly Polluting Industries, one is reported to have installed the ETP and the other is reported to have been closed. As regards the number of drains falling into the river in the towns covered under the Ganga Action Plan and number of identified Gross Polluting Industries which discharge their effluent in the river between Rishikesh and Prayagraj, the same is given in the Annexure.    
  
GAP Phase-I was declared closed in March, 2000. Since GAP Phase-I did not cover the pollution load of Ganga fully, GAP Phase II which included Plans for Yamuna, Gomti, Damodar and Mahananda besides Ganga was approved in various stages from 1993 onwards. The present sanctioned cost of works for Ganga river (main stem) under GAP Phase-II is Rs.564 crore against which an amount of Rs.373.58 crore has been released to the State Implementing Agencies. Out of a total of 311 schemes sanctioned, 185 schemes have been completed so far and the balance schemes are in different stages of implementation. 



Ganga Sets to Vanish Near Its Source

There would be no water in large stretches of the famed Alaknanda and Bhagirathi riverbeds if the Uttarakhand government goes ahead with its plan to build 53 power projects on these two rivers which join at Dev Prayag to form the Ganga, the Comptroller and Auditor General has said on April 1, 2010. 
  
A CAG inspection report submitted to the Uttarakhand governor says that already the riverbed is completely dry at Shrinagar (Garhwal) and what flows downstream is the water released by a power plant from its tunnel and those diverted from tributaries. If all projects are allowed to go through, the aquatic life and biodiversity of the river basin will be virtually erased. Sources said the report also expresses fear that all villages settled along the river basin will be uprooted once the rivers go dry, leading to mass migration and cultural erosion. 
 
The CAG comes down hard on the state government whose power policy of 2006 allows a private player to divert up to 90% of the river water to power turbines, leaving only 10% to flow in the natural course of the river. 
 
According a news published in INDIA TODAY on February 1, 2010, a plan to produce electricity in the Himalayas to ease the power situation in the plains could make the Ganga disappear in the valley of its origin.  The river will remain tunnelled continuously for a distance of 130 km up to Dharasu near Uttarkashi. 
In all, 12 large and medium hydroelectric projects are either functioning, are under construction or have been proposed between Gangotri and Haridwar. Ecologists and local groups have warned that if all the projects are  executed, there will be no free- flowing water for about 250 km of India most holy river.
 
The construction work has been suspended in three out of eight hydro-electric projects on river Bhagirathi in Uttarakhand, the government told the Rajya Sabha on April 26, 2010. The third big dam on the Bhagirathi river — 600 MW Loharinag Pala  can be shut down after taking due care, a technical committee set up by the environment and forests ministry has concluded on June 24, 2010.
 
Within a month of approving the 600 MW Loharinag Pala dam on Uttarakhand, a group of ministers on August 20, 2010 scrapped the National  Thermal Power Corporation project following intervention by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The GoM headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had approved the project in July on the ground that NTPC had already spent Rs 600 crore and ordered equipment worth Rs 2,000 for the project. A large number of religious organisations and former IIT professor G.D. Aggarwal
a new rishi to save Ganga   asked Singh to review the decision. Aggarwal was on his third fast unto death against the decision in Dehradun. Uttarakhand State has planned to build 300 small and large dams on various tributaries of the Ganga to tap the hydro power potential of the State.

Ganga Sets to Vanish Near Its Source
There would be no water in large stretches of the famed Alaknanda and Bhagirathi riverbeds if the Uttarakhand government goes ahead with its plan to build 53 power projects on these two rivers which join at Dev Prayag to form the Ganga, the Comptroller and Auditor General has said on April 1, 2010. 
  
A CAG inspection report submitted to the Uttarakhand governor says that already the riverbed is completely dry at Shrinagar (Garhwal) and what flows downstream is the water released by a power plant from its tunnel and those diverted from tributaries. If all projects are allowed to go through, the aquatic life and biodiversity of the river basin will be virtually erased. Sources said the report also expresses fear that all villages settled along the river basin will be uprooted once the rivers go dry, leading to mass migration and cultural erosion. 
 
The CAG comes down hard on the state government whose power policy of 2006 allows a private player to divert up to 90% of the river water to power turbines, leaving only 10% to flow in the natural course of the river. 
 
According a news published in INDIA TODAY on February 1, 2010, a plan to produce electricity in the Himalayas to ease the power situation in the plains could make the Ganga disappear in the valley of its origin.  The river will remain tunnelled continuously for a distance of 130 km up to Dharasu near Uttarkashi. 

In all, 12 large and medium hydroelectric projects are either functioning, are under construction or have been proposed between Gangotri and Haridwar. Ecologists and local groups have warned that if all the projects are  executed, there will be no free- flowing water for about 250 km of India most holy river.
 
The construction work has been suspended in three out of eight hydro-electric projects on river Bhagirathi in Uttarakhand, the government told the Rajya Sabha on April 26, 2010. The third big dam on the Bhagirathi river — 600 MW Loharinag Pala  can be shut down after taking due care, a technical committee set up by the environment and forests ministry has concluded on June 24, 2010.
 
Within a month of approving the 600 MW Loharinag Pala dam on Uttarakhand, a group of ministers on August 20, 2010 scrapped the National  Thermal Power Corporation project following intervention by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The GoM headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had approved the project in July on the ground that NTPC had already spent Rs 600 crore and ordered equipment worth Rs 2,000 for the project. A large number of religious organisations and former IIT professor G.D. Aggarwal
a new rishi to save Ganga   asked Singh to review the decision. Aggarwal was on his third fast unto death against the decision in Dehradun. Uttarakhand State has planned to build 300 small and large dams on various tributaries of the Ganga to tap the hydro power potential of the State.

History
The Ganga is mentioned in the Rig-Veda, the earliest of the Hindu scriptures. The Ganga is mentioned in the nadistuti (Rig Veda 10.75), which lists the rivers from east to west. In RV 6.45.31, the word Ganga is also mentioned, but it is not clear if the reference is to the river. RV 3.58.6 says that "your ancient home, your auspicious friendship, O Heroes, your wealth is on the banks of the Jahnavi (JahnAvyAm)". This verse could possibly refer to the Ganga. In RV 1.116.18-19, the Jahnavi and the Gangetic dolphin occur in two adjacent verses.   
  
During the early Indo-Aryan Ages, the Indus and the Saraswati were the major rivers, not the Ganga. But the later three Vedas seem to give much more  importance to the Ganga, as shown by its numerous references. According to the Hindu Purans, Goddess Ganga used to exist only in Heaven. Then prince Bhagirath worshipped Ganga to descend on earth.This is why Ganga is also known as Bhagirathi. In the Mahabharath this story is also mentioned. In fact, Ganga is a major character in the Mahabharath, where she is the mother of Bhisma.
  
Another version of the myth tells us that Ganga descended to earth to purify the souls of the 60,000 sons of  an ancient ruler, King Sagara, who had been burnt to ashes by an enraged ascetic. 


Ganga in Hindu Religion
According to Hindus the river Ganga  is sacred. It is worshipped by Hindus and personified as a goddess, who holds an important place in the Hindu religion. Hindu belief holds that bathing in the river on certain occasions causes the forgiveness of sins and helps attain salvation. Many people believe that this will come from bathing in Ganga at any time. People travel from distant places to immerse the ashes of their kin in the waters of the Ganga; this immersion also is believed to send the ashes to heaven. Several places sacred to Hindus lie along the banks of the river Ganga, including Haridwar and Kashi. People carry sacred water from the Ganges that is sealed in copper pots after making the pilgrimage to Kashi. It is believed that drinking water from the Ganga with ones last breath will take the soul to heaven. Hindus also believe life is incomplete without bathing in the Ganga at least once in their lifetime.
 
In most Hindu families, a vial of water from the Ganga is kept in every house. This is done because it is auspicious to have water of the Holy Ganga in the house, and also if someone is dying, that person will be able to drink its water.  Many Hindus believe that the water from the Ganga can cleanse a persons soul of  all past sins, and that it can also cure the ill. The ancient scriptures mention that the water of Ganga carries the blessings of the Lords feet. Hence mother Ganga is also known as Visnupadi (Emanating from the Lotus feet of Supreme Lord Sri Visnu). Some of the most important Hindu festivals and religious congregations are celebrated on the banks of the river Ganga such as the Kumbh Mela or the Kumbh Fair and the Chhat Puja.
 
Around 70 million Hindus from around the world participated in Kumbh Mela at the Hindu Holy city Prayaga (also known as Allahabad). The most important city sacred to Hinduism on the banks of the River Ganga is Varanasi or Banaras. It has hundreds of temples along the banks of the Ganga which often get flooded during the rains. This city, especially along the banks of the Ganga, is an important place of worship for the Hindus as well as a cremation ground.
 
Chhath an ancient Hindu festival dedicated to the worship of the
Lord Sun (सूर्य)  is mainly celebrated in northeast region of India in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, some parts of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand on the banks of Ganga  This year on November 12, 2010 Chath Puja  the urban populace prefer to visit other water bodies like ponds or lakes or remain confined to their homes for performing the Chhath rituals as river Ganga has shifted away at different ghats and its water stands highly contaminated..

Kehri Dam
The most controversial Tehri dam is the main dam of the Tehri Hydro Project on the rivers Bhagirathi (one of the major tributary of the river Ganga) located near Tehri in Uttarakhand. It is a multi purpose river valley project, towering 855 feet (261 m). The main dam at Tehri is the 8th tallest dam in the world. The dams projected capabilities include a power generation capacity of 2400 MW, irrigation stabilization to an area of 6,000 km², an additional area of 2,700 km² of irrigation stabilization and a supply of 270 million gallons (1.23 million cubic metres) of drinking water  to industrialized cities in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. The dam project was approved in 1972 and construction was started in 1978. The dam is  operational since July 2006.  Until March 2008, a sum of Rs 8,298 crore had been spent on the dam, far outweighing the initial planned costs. Its projected power generating capacity was 2,400 MW. Currently, it is generating only 1,000 MW, less than half its capacity.
  
According to Hindu mythology, river Bhagirathi is the actual Ganga, though the name of Ganga is assumed only after the river Bhagirathi meets river Alaknanda at Devprayag. Cutting off the water supply of Bhagirathi to such low quantity means that after travelling more than 80 km from this point, water of Bhagirathi will be hardly reaching Ganga. It is predicted that after 20 years  the mighty Ganga will be reduced to a trickle and cease to exist for the 150 million people in this region.  The Tehri dam is located in the Central Himalayan Seismic Gap, a major geologic fault zone. This region was the site of a magnitude 6.8 earthquake in October 1991, epicenter 50 km from the location of the dam.

Khumb Mela
Kumbh Mela (कुम्भ मेला), the largest religious gathering on earth, is held every 12 years on the banks of the Triveni Sangam - the confluence of the holy rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati. The Mela alternates between Nasik, Allahabad, Ujjain and Haridwar every three years. The one celebrated at the Holy Sangam in Allahabad is the largest and holiest of them. The Mela is attended by millions of devotees, including Sadhus. A holy dip in the sacred waters is believed to cleanse the soul. 


Kumbh Mela  at Haridwr  from January 14                    
Traditional procession of Akharas of naga,
sages, to April 28, 2010  


Some Hollywood celebrities participated in the Haridwar Kumbh Mela, termed as the biggest spiritual gathering on earth, in India during January- April in 2010. This year  Kumbh Mela  begins  from January 14, 2010  to April 28, 2010 includes 11 bathing dates in between, at Haridwar, where fast-flowing Ganga enters the plains from Himalayan. 
  Nearly  80 million people bathed along the 15-kilometre (nine-mile) stretch of the river Ganges in Haridwar during the Kumbh Mela festival that lasted 104 days, organisers said on April 29, 2010 as the event drew to a close. Nearly 1.45-crore pilgrims took a dip in the Ganga on April 14, 2010, the day of 
Baisakhi   only.The Ardh or 'half Kumbh' Mela, is held every six years on the banks of Sangam. 

Economy
The flora and fauna found along Ganga banks are vital to nutrient and water conservation, and control of soil erosion.  451 million people living in its basin are directly and indirectly dependent upon the Ganga. Watered by the monsoons, this silt-enriched land produces a significant portion of the rice, wheat, millet, sugar, and barley needed to feed the world's second most populous nation. The rain feds the land, dilutes the river's muddy stream, flushes out excess sediment and suspended matter, and revitalizes the river where its flow was sluggish.  The Ganges and its tributaries provide a perennial source of irrigation to a large area. The Ganges can swell a thousand-fold during the monsoons. 
  
Haridwar, Allahabad, and Varanasi are the the source of tourism and  attract thousands of pilgrims to its waters.  Thousands of Hindu pilgrims arrive at these three towns to take a dip in the Ganges, which is believed to cleanse oneself of sins and help attain salvation.

  

Ecology 
The Ganga has been described by the World Wildlife Fund as one of the world’s top ten rivers at risk. It has over 140 fish species, 90 amphibian species, and five areas which support birds found nowhere else in the world. According to studies reported by environmental engineer D.S. Bhargava of the University of Roorkee, the Ganges decomposes organic waste 15 to 25 times faster than other rivers.  The Ganges has an extraordinarily high rate of reaeration, the process by which it absorbs atmospheric oxygen. When organic waste is dropped into it, as much as 60 per cent of the BOD is processed within an hour. The water quality samples also suggest that the Ganges retains DO much longer than does water from other rivers.   
  
In a recent finding, the scientists have observed that various species of fishes which helped in keeping the river water clean are facing extinction. In its place, numerous marine species are thriving in the river. Marine species like Sea Bass, Rostellascaris, Xenentodon Cancilla, Clarius Gariepinus or Thai Magur have been found in the fresh water of Ganga in Allahabad and its surrounding districts. 
 
Gangetic dolphins were once found in abundance in the river Ganges. But over the years a steady increase in pollution in the river has dwindled the population of Dolphins.
River Dolphin declared as National Aquatic Animal and on January 19, 2010, Ministry of Environment and Forests included in the Schedule I for the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.  According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Gangetic dolphins are in grave danger with their population declining at a rate of 10 percent annually. Industrial discharges, sewage, pesticides and the rotting remains of dead bodies have increased pollution levels in the River Ganges over the years despite government promises to clean-up the holy river. 
 
M. Omair from the University of Michigan in the US has collected zooplankton samples from Haridwar, Kanpur, Allahabad, Varanasi, Patna, and Kolkata. He found that many of the zooplanktons that are eaten by the small fish have tumours. The small fish are in turn eaten by the bigger fish and so on, so the ill zooplanktons are getting into the entire food chain, including humans who eat fish from the river. "It is a bad sign for the environmental health of the Ganga," Omair said.

  

Ganga River is Rapidly Shriking 
The Ganga is one of the world’s most rapidly shrinking rivers, a recent study of 900 rivers in the world has found. One of India’s most culturally and economically important rivers is among 45 in the study that showed a statistically significant reduction in discharge to the ocean. In 2004, the Ganga had 20 per cent less water than it did 56 years  earlier, the study, conducted by the National Centre for Atmosphere Research in Colorado in the US, concluded. This centre belongs to the University Corporation of Atmospheric Research.
   
The Allahabad high court on January 12, 2011 asked the state government to ensure maintaining 50 per cent of water level in the river Ganga in the interest of general public. The court in its order also clarified that water level not be reduced by more than 50 per cent by refraining from drawing excess amount from the Ganga. Passing this order, a division bench of the high court, consisting of Justice Askok Bhushan and Justice Arun Tandon, on a PIL filed to make the river Ganga pollution-free, said that though water is necessary for agricultural purposes, but it is also the duty of the government to provide potable water to the people and for that a balance has to be maintained.

  
  

Idol Immersion in Ganga
The annual ritual of immersing idols of
Goddess Durga and other Hindu deities in the Ganga river has  threaten the survival of the endangered river dolphin and other aquatic creatures but also increases pollution in the already polluted river.  Thousands of idols were immersed in the Ganga in Kolkata, Patna and other cites situated on the banks of river last year to mark the end of the Durga Puja festival.  
 
Concerned over alarming pollution level in the Ganges river, the Allahabad High Court on October 20, 2010 asked Uttar Pradesh government to issue a notification banning the use of polythene in the vicinity of the river. Passing the order, a Division Bench comprising Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice Arun Tandon asked the government to file an affidavit, apprising the court of the compliance of the order, on October 25 next. 
 
The Calcutta High Court on October 5, 2010 directed that the guideline framed by the West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB) will have to be followed for cleaning up the river Ganga after immersion of idols. The court also said that it was the duty of Kolkata Port Trust (KPT) and concerned municipalities to clean the river after idols immersion.

 


Ganga Delta and Ganga in Sea
The delta of the Ganga, or rather, that of the Hooghly and the Padma, is a vast ragged swamp forest (42,000 sq km) called the
Sundarbans the world’s largest delta , home of the Royal Bengal Tiger. The river courses in the delta are broad and active, carrying a vast amount of water. On the seaward side of the delta are swamplands and tidal forests called Sunderbans which are protected conservation areas in both Indian and Bangladeshi law. The peat found in the delta is used for fertilizer and fuel. The water supply to the river depends on the rains brought by the monsoon winds from July to October and the melting snow from the Himalayas during the period from April to June. The delta also experiences strong cyclonic storms before and after the monsoon season which can be devastating.
 
The delta used to be densely forested and inhabited by many wild animals. Today, however, it has become intensely cultivated to meet the needs of the growing population and many of the wild animals have disappeared. The Royal Bengal Tiger still lives in the Sunderbans and kills about 30 villagers every year. There remains high fish populations in the rivers which provides an important part of the inhabitants' diet. Bird life in the Ganges basin is also prolific. 


Ganga in Koltata
The main branch of the Ganga, the Padma, passes through the Farraka Barrage, a gigantic barrier designed to divert the Ganga waters into the Hooghly branch, and away from the Padma. Completed by the Indian government in the early 1970s, it was intended to help flush out the increasing silt deposits in the Hooghly, to improve navigation, and to provide Kolkata with irrigation and drinking water. 
 
About 150 large industrial plants are lined up on the banks of the
Hooghly River around Kolkata. Together, these plants contribute 30 percent of the total industrial effluent reaching the mouths of the Ganga. Of this, half comes from pulp and paper industries, which discharge a dark brown, oxygen-craving slurry of bark and wood fiber, mercury and other heavy metals which accumulate in fish tissues, and chemical toxins like bleaches and dyes, which produce dioxin and other persistent compounds.
 
CNN-IBN-Outlook State of the Environment Poll has found that 77 per cent people have voted cleaning of rivers by government as the top priority. The findings are especially significant in Kolkata as its main river Hooghly is congested with solid waste and effluents. It is said that the character of a city is best judged by how well it maintains its sea or river front.

 

Kosi River - The Sorrow of Bihar
The
River Kosi ( कोसी नदी) also called the sorrow of Bihar is one of the largest tributaries of river Ganga. After flowing  58 km in Nepal, it enters the north Bihar plains near Bhimnagar and after another 260 km , flows into the Ganges near Kursela. The river travels a distance of 729 km from its source to the confluence with the Ganga. Due the current floods in Kosi river, the situation in Bihar is the worst witnessed for hundreds of years.
 

Now Ganga Threatened by Expressway
The UP state government  selected a developer for the ambitious Rs 30,000- crore Ganga Expressway project. Financial bids from five companies for developing the 1,047-km project, linking Noida and Ballia, have been allotted by state Industrial Development Commissioner. The expressway promises to reduce travel time from Ballia to Noida to about 10 hours. 
 
Ganga Expressway is anti-Hindu, says BJP and other opposition parties including the Congress and the Samajwadi Party . They are also planning to protest against the expressway. The CPI leaders said that thousands of acres of fertile land in UP was being acquired for the Ganga Expressway project that was bound to render thousands of farmers homeless and jobless. 
 
On May 29, 2009: the Allahabad High Court stayed the Ganga Express Highway Project. The ambitious project is aimed at linking Noida to Ballia in Uttar Pradesh by constructing eight lane 1047 kilometer long road, which would pass through 19 districts along the bank of river Ganga.Jaiprakash  Associates were allotted contract for the prestigious Rs 30,000-crore Ganga Expressway project. 


Gand And Groundwater Contamination
While pollution level in the holy Ganga is becoming a grave concern for scientists of the country, threat of groundwater contamination is also looming even larger than anticipated and calling for urgent measures for its mitigation. The two-day workshop on 'Ganga and groundwater contamination and its mitigation', organised by the the state unit office of the Central 
  
The presence of arsenic has been detected in and around groundwa-ter sources in the state s five towns based along the banks of the Ganga as well as around 1,590 villages spread over 13 districts in the Gangetic basin of the state on February 11, 2011.
 
The towns where the sources of drinking water have yielded arsenic con-tamination are Buxar, Sultanganj, Nathnagar and Kahalgaon on the south-ern bank of the Ganga and Begusarai located on the river s northern bank. The 13 Bihar districts where villages in the Gangetic basin or close to it have yielded arsenic content in drinking water include Buxar, Bhojpur, Patna, Lakhisarai, Munger, Bhagalpur, Katihar, Begusarai, Samastipur, Vaishali and Saran. The arsenic content has also been found in some vil-lages lying in the basin of Burhi Gandak in Darbhanga district.  
 

Ganga Thratened by Climate Change
The Ganga is also one of the rivers most threatened by climate change. According to a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (The UN Climate Change Conference in Bali) looking at the threat from climate change to human development and the environment, “only the polar icecaps hold more fresh water than the Himalayan glaciers”: “If the current trends of climate change continue, by 2030 the size of the glaciers could be reduced by as much as 80 per cent,”  warns the report, titled “Up in Smoke -- Asia and the Pacific”, released here in November 2007. 
  
Some of India’s most important rivers are fed by the Himalayan glaciers. But rising temperatures means that many of the Himalayan glaciers are melting fast due to
 Global Warming and could diminish significantly over the coming decades with catastrophic results. In the long run, the water flow in the Ganges could drop by two-thirds, affecting more than 400 million people who depend on it for drinking water. The report warns that in the short term the rapid melting of ice high up in the Himalayas might cause river swelling and floods. The formation of glacial lakes of melt-water creates the threat of outburst floods leading to devastation in lowland valleys. 

Himalayan glaciers are already in retreat. Their dependence on glacier runoff makes downstream populations  particularly vulnerable to the consequences, says Koko Warner of the UN Universitys Institute for Environment and Human Security. The Ganga irrigates 17.9 million hectares in northern India. "The potential for migration out of irrigated areas could be significant," Ms. Warner added. 


Ganga A National Heritage
On September 22, 2008  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has assured giving river Ganga a national heritage status, a statement by the Hardwar-based Ganga Raksha Manch said. The prime minister pledged to revive the glory of the river and look into the issue of pollution in the river along its stretch from upper reaches in Hardwar to Ganga Sagar in the Bay of Bengal.  In a boost to the Ganga cleaning programme, the government has cleared projects worth Rs 1,394.11 crore for the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Uttarakhand on March 6, 2010..   
  
The first PM of India Pandit Jawaharla Nehru said: "The Ganga especially is the river of India age-long culture and civilization, ever changing., ever flowing, and yet ever the same Ganga."  Ganga is both goddess and river. The name of Ganga appears twice in the Rig Veda, references in Puranas, Valmiki Ramayana,  Devi Bhagavatam, Mahabharata and Hindu religious Granthas as mother Ganga. . 
 
In other parts of the world great rivers have been referred to as mothers.  Volga is Mat Rodanya that is Mother of land. Irelands river Boyne is worshiped as a goddess, The Thai river is Mae-nau taht is Water Mother. In ancient Egypt the Nile was considered as the tears of Goddess Isis.

Varanasi
Varanasi (वाराणसी) also known as Benares or Kashi (काशी) situated on the banks of the River Ganga in  Uttar Pradesh, regarded as most holy place by Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains. It is one of the oldest  inhabited cities in the world, believed to be about 3,000 years old..Varanasi  is referred as "the city of temples", "the holy city of India", "the religious capital of India", "the city of lights", and "the city of learning."  The importance of Varanasi  is closely associated with the River Ganga.and has many temples along its banks. Hindus believe that bathing in Ganga remits sins and that dying in Kashi ensures release of a persons soul from the cycle of its transmigrations. Varanasi is one of the holiest places in Buddhism too, being one of the four pilgrimage sites said to have been designated by Gautama Buddha himself. 

 



  
More than 1,000,000 pilgrims visit the city each year. It has the holy shrine of Kashi Vishwanath (a manifestation of Lord Shiva), and also one of the twelve revered Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva (शिव). Varanasi has nearly 100 ghats, most of them are bathing ghats, while others are used as cremation sites. Varanasi is famous by its  Jantar Mantar ,  Archaeological museum, Bharat Kala Bhavan, The New Vishwanath Temple, Ganga Aarti at Dashashwamedh Ghat, Banaras Hindu University and Banarasi Silk. 
 
A recent study by the Ganga Lab and River Ecosystem Environment Management and Training Centre at the Benaras Hindu University (BHU) has found that "the quantity of (original) Ganga jal could in fact be less than 1 per cent in Varanasi" . The reason. First, there are dams and barrages on the way. These trap the river and divert the waters. The next assault comes in the form of toxic substances dumped in the river as it flows through Uttar Pradesh. The end result is that the Ganga, as it enters Varanasi, flows more in faith than in reality. The government has spent Rs 36,448 crore on cleaning the Ganga, yet at Varanasi the river is little more than a deadly cocktail of groundwater, sewage discharge and spillage from tributaries like the Yamuna and the Betwa — hardly the sacred Ganga jal that, many believe, has the powers to wash away the sins of mankind, 50 lakh of whom visit this town every year for the holy dip. 


The Ganga Allahabad
Sangam at Allahabad the holy confluence of the Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati revered by millions and the site for historic Mahakumbh held once every 12 years- seems to be under threat. 

 
With the ongoing Magh Mela, thousands are taking a dip into the Ganga to rid themselves of sins. But, the fact is that the river water has become toxic and unfit for bathing. The untreated water from various nullahs in the city is flowing into the Ganga, thus polluting the river water. Besides, the ever-increasing human settlements in Kachar (catchment area of river) area have added to the burden of the river. About 287 million litres of sewage flow into the Ganga in Allahabad only, 400 million litres of sewage in Kanpur and 300 million litres go into it in Varanasi.
 

Mission Clean Ganga
September 19, 2011:
The Banaras Hindu University (BHU) is going to play a major role in coordinating research projects on the Ganga pollution control and river basin management under joint collaboration of the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
 September 15, 2011: An Allahabad lawyer Arun Kumar Gupta has taken up cudgels on behalf of the Ganga and his
pleadings in the court may have helped in the fight for river's existence as well as from getting further polluted.
 
September 6, 2011:
  Conservationists and scientists would be in the Sangam city to participate in the meet called 'Ganga Sammelan' on September 23 and 24, 2011. The call for the meet has been given by Jal Biradari, a body of river conservationists headed by Magsaysay award winner Rajendra Singh. The participants aim to protest against the government's move to invest thousands of crores on river conservation without disclosing its plan of action.  
 "Today, one of the biggest corruption avenue is projects pertaining to river conservation. This is essentially because 40% of the total funds under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) are directly or indirectly marked for river conservation," Singh said. "Crores of rupees have gone down the drain over the past many years, but
things haven't changed a bit. Rather situation has further deteriorated," Singh  said. Instead, flood plain and river bed of majority of rivers have been sold by the governments to the private builders.

 
 
June 14, 2011: The saint Nigamananda  was fasting for the Ganga since the last many days. He laid down his life for the Ganga. In his lifetime, Nigamanand, an ascetic fighting a lonely battle against quarrying activities in Uttarakhand, tried to draw the attention of the national media to an environmental disaster waiting to happen in the state. In his death, the 36-year-old Sadhu, who went into a coma and died on Wednesday following his four-month- long fast in the same hospital at Dehra Dun where Ramdev was admitted. While doctors, bureaucrats, spiritual leaders and chief ministers coaxed Ramdev to end his 9-day fast, Nigamanad lay in the same hospital, four month into his fast-unto-death to save the Ganga from choking pollution, unsung and unheard. 

  
Ganga gallery:  Country's first state of the art Ganga gallery inaugurated at the National Academy of Sciences India (NASI) on April 15, 2011. The council of NASI has decided to adopt ways to make the people aware about the conservation and restoration of the river Ganga by establishing a Ganga gallery, using a scientific approach in order to highlight the religious, cultural, socio- economic and scientific aspects of the river.

 
February 8, 2011: Ganga-Yamuna Jal Pradushan Nivaran Pradarshini helps in creating awareness among the public for saving the rivers. Ganga Pradarshini is a confluence of dedication, innovation and resolution, said Harichaitnya Brahmchariji Maharaj while speaking at `Sant Samagam', a programme held on the campus of Ganga Yamuna Jal Pradushan Nivaran Pradarshini in Magh Mela area.Prem Das Mauniji Maharaj,  
 
January 16, 2011: Shankaracharya Swami Vasudevanand Saraswati asked the common man to come forward to safeguard the sanatan dharma. Lauding the efforts of Maa Ganga Pradooshan Mukti Abhiyan Samiti, he said that the holy Ganga is life generating stream with which sentiments of millions across the globe are attached. 
 
 
October 23, 2010:
The World Bank has agreed to provide $1 billion for the Mission Clean Ganga being implemented by the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for restoring the "wholesomeness" of the river system by minimising its pollution level, the Centre has informed the Supreme Court. 
 
October 2, 2010:  Magsaysay award winner and environmentalist Rajendra Singh began a three- month tour on Friday to constitute 'Ganga Panchayats' in towns and villages along the river Ganga. 
 
September 2, 2010: A campaign in Kanpur from Gandhi Jayanti on October 2, 2010  to make the banks of the Ganga, and the areas falling within 500 m radius of the river, free from polythene, would be initiated. A division bench of the Allahabad High Court had directed the Ganga Basin Authority  and the state government to take appropriate action to ban use of polythenes in the vicinity of Ganga in the entire state.
 
July 26, 2010: Under his 'Swachha Ganga, Samridh Bharat Abhiyan'-- a foot march from Gomukh to Ganga Sagar organised by Acharya Neeraj a lawyer of the Supreme Court. He said the main objective of the 3000-km foot march was to create awareness among people to keep the Ganga clean and maintain its purity. 
 
July 20, 2010:  Prof G.D.Agarwal has been on fast-unto-death in Haridwar since July 20, 2010  in protest against the hydropower project on Bhagirathi. 
 
July 6, 2010
seven Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) have plunged into a government effort to clean the Ganga, promising to recommend a slew of river management and technology strategies to improve its ecological health. An IIT consortium will develop a Ganga River Basin Management Plan within 18 months under an agreement signed  by the Union  environment ministry and the IITs at Mumbai, Delhi, Guwahati, Kanpur, Kharagpur, Chennai and Roorkee. 
 
June 17, 2010: the environment ministry has rejected a major hydro project planned on river Gori Ganga in Uttarakhand, saying it would destroy the valley’s fragile ecosystem.  
 
May 20, 2010: the central government has invited global consultants to formulate an action plan to clean river Ganga, a senior environment ministry official said. The official said about $3 million has already been received from  the World Bank for preparing a management plan for cleaning river Ganga. 
 
April 4, 2010  BJP leader L K Advani  launched the Uttarakhand governments clean Ganga campaign and asked people all over the country to play an active role in the conservation of the holy river. Speaking after the launch of the campaign christened "Ganga Sparsh Abhiyan", Advani said  
 
March 22, 2010, World Water Day thousands of people held each others hand and reaffirmed their pledge to save the national river, Ganga  due to its alarming pollution level at Varanasi. Students, men and women formed a 7-km long human chain this morning at the world-famous ghats on World Water Day .
 
February 23, 2010, VARANASI is all set to witness establishment of National Ganga River Basin Research Institute for sustainable development of the Ganga river basin in the region. The Centre has expressed confidence that by 2020 the polluted River Ganga would be cleaned and Rs 15,000 crore will be spent on it.  

http://www.gits4u.com/water/ganga.htm  Link to original.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flScjs4I7wc  Link to Snake Friendly Village.

 Thank you.  Starry Ganga SUPE



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