The Ministry for Water Resources and Ganga Rejuvenation has written to the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), requesting a concurrent auditing of the National Mission for Clean Ganga project.
The request was made to ensure that there is transparency in the ambitious Rs 20,000 crore project, which envisages to rejuvenate the river Ganga with a multipronged approach that includes setting up of eco-friendly crematoria, sewage and effluent treatment plants, providing livelihood to people living on the banks of the river, finding a market for treated water so that it is not pumped back to the river, protecting the indigenous flora and fauna of the river and encouraging the use of the river for inland transport.
Mission director Rajat Bhargava wrote to deputy CAG Anita Dayalan, noting that the funds involved are rather huge. “The budget of Rs 2,750 crore alloted during 2015 -16 and Rs 2,500 crore for the current financial year give an indication of the quantum of funds to be handled by the National Mission for Clean Ganga every year,'' he wrote. Bhargava added in the letter that the initial project was pegged at Rs 7,000 crore, but subsequently, the scope was expanded to include the cleaning up and rejuvenation of tributaries of Ganga as well as to incorporate into the mission many of the flagship programmes of the government.
Meanwhile, the ministry is also mooting the formation of a 'clean Ganga authority' which will be empowered to conduct checks on polluting units and impose fines. At present, this is the responsibility of the Central Pollution Control Board, but the ministry clearly wants more control over the projects.