Opposition members in the Lok Sabha today accused the government of diluting the importance of the Water Resources Ministry in a drought year by its emphasis only on the river Ganga and its cleaning. They also faulted the Centre for not allocating any money for dam safety studies and expressed concern over the growing contamination of groundwater.
Initiating a discussion on the demands for grants of the Water Resources Ministry, Congress member Gaurav Gogoi said no one will have any objection to the ambitious programme of cleaning the holy Ganga. But, the allocation of thousands of crores of rupees for cleaning Ganga without having any implementable roadmap would not lead anywhere, he said. The member took exception to the absence of Water Resources minister Uma Bharti in the House when the discussion was taken up.
Gogoi also made a strong plea that while stressing on development and cleaning of Ganga, the government should not ignore the Brahmaputra and Barak rivers. He said the construction of projects on the Brahmaputra should be put on fast-track as China is feverishing building hydel projects on the river in its territory. He said if India was forced to engage in legal tussle with China on the issue, it was imperative that New Delhi needed to speed up its projects on the river.
India, the member said, needed to ensure greater conservation of water to fulfill needs of its growing population. He said while the country had 18 per cent of the human resources of the world, it has got only 4 per cent of water resources.
Bijaya Chakravarty (BJP) likened the efforts initiated by the Prime Minister to clean Ganga to that of Bhagiratha who brought the river Ganges, personified as the river goddess Ganga, to earth from heaven.