“NATIONAL GANGA RIVER BASIN AUTHORITY’ (NGRBA): OBJECTIVES, APPROACH AND FUNCTIONS"
The Central Government, by a notification dated 20.2.2009, as set up ‘National GangaRiver Basin Authority’ (NGRBA)as an empowered planning, financing, monitoring and coordinating authority for the Ganga River, in exercise of the powers conferred under the Environment (Protection) Act,1986. The Prime Minister is ex-officio Chairperson of the Authority, and it has as its members, the Union Ministers Concerned and the Chief Ministers of states through which Ganga flows, viz., Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, among others. The objective of the Authority is to ensure effective abatement of pollution and conservation of the river Ganga by adopting a holistic approach with the river basin as the unit of planning. The functions of the Authority include all measures necessary for planning and execution of programmes for abatement of pollution in the Ganga in keeping with sustainable development needs.
The first meeting of the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) was held on 5th October, 2009 under the Chairmanship of the Hon’ble Prime Minister. The meeting was attended by the Chief Ministers of Uttarkhand and Bihar, Union Ministers of Urban Development, Water Resources and the Union Minister for Environment and Forests, besides the Deputy Chairman Planning Commission.
Key Features of New Approach
* River basin will be the unit of planning and management. This is an internationally accepted strategy for integrated management of rivers.
* Accordingly, a new institutional mechanism in the form of National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) will spearhead river conservation efforts at the national level. Implementation will be by the State Agencies and Urban Local Bodies
* The new strategy will take into account the competing demands on water and will seek t ensure minimum ecological flows. STPs minimise the pollution load up to discharge standard of BOD of 30mg/litre requiring dilution to achieve river water quality of 3mg/ litre.
* The minimum ecological flows or the entire Ganga will be determined through modelling exercises. NGRBA
* will take appropriate measures to regulate water abstraction for maintaining ecological flows in the river.
Functions of NGRBA
* The NGRBA would be responsible for addressing the problem of pollution in Ganga in a holistic and comprehensive manner. This will include water quality, minimum ecological flows, sustainable access and other issues relevant to river ecology and management.
* The NGRBA will not only be regulatory body but will also have developmental role in terms of planning & monitoring of the river conservation activities and ensuring that necessary resources are available.
* The NRGBA would work for maintaining the water quality of the river Ganga uptoacceptable standards. The pollution abetment activities will be taken through the existing implementation mechanisms in the State and also through special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs0 at the pollution hotspots.
* The NGRBA will ensure minimum ecological flow in the Ganga by regulating water abstraction and by promoting water storage projects.
* The NGRBA will plan and monitor programmes for cleaning of Ganga and its tributaries. To being with, it will concentrate on Ganga main stream.
* The NGRBA would draw upon professional expertise within and outside the Government for advice on techno-economic issues.
* The technical and administrative support to NGRBA shall be provided by the Ministry of Environment & for advice on techno-economic issues.
* The technical and administrative support to NGRBA shall be provided by the Ministry of Environment & Forests.