Will Ganga be declared a World Heritage site?

ganga_story_350_042215112005With India taking various initiatives to clean its major rivers including the Ganga, a group of environmentalists will petition the Indian Prime Minister, to pursue UNESCO to declare the upper region of the holy river as a World Heritage Site

“I have already written to the Union Ministry for Water Resources and now we will petition the PM to pursue the case. I will write a letter to the PM in this regard,” said noted environmentalist Ranjit Bhargava. This is important as the PM is himself keen on Ganga river conservation, he added.

Mr Bhargava has been associated with Ganga cleaning campaigns for over 20 years, and he has been conferred the Padma Sri Award for his immense contribution towards environmental conservation. He wrote a letter to the PMO in this regard and said, “Unless there is a fully empowered agency to clean the Ganga, directly under the PMO assisted by the Ministry of Ganga Rejuvenation, it will not do any good.” He also had suggested for a well structured Territorial Army Division, consisting of Eco Task Force Units of ex-servicemen, to be set up to clean and the Ganga.

The Modi-led government had launched the Swachh Ganga (Clean Ganga) campaign. Referring to the latest developments in this campaign, Mr Bhargava said that some measures had already been taken in this regard; however, there were key suggestions such as the powers to take actions against the defaulters that were yet to be materialized.

He added that he had written a letter to the Union Minister for Water Resources Uma Bharti for World Heritage site status to be given to the Upper Ganga region from Gaumukh to Haridwar in Uttarakhand. But in response Minister of State for Water Resources Sanwar Lal Jat said that the proposal has to be initiated by Uttarakhand government itself.

“We want that the PM should directly take initiative in this regard. Ganga River is revered by crores of people in India and the issue is not related to one particular state. It should be ensured that the river is restored to its pristine glory, made clean and pollution free. Even the apex court has expressed concern over the issue,” he said.

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