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Act quickly to restore glory of Ganga: PM

By The Assam Tribune

New Delhi, April 17 (IANS): Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said there is need to "act quickly" to restore the glory of the Ganga river, which provides water to over 40 percent of India's population in 11 States, but it should be done in a "rational and practical" way and not in a "piecemeal" manner.

Chairing the National Ganga River Basin Authority meet here today, the Prime Minister also admitted that preserving the river, deified by Hindus and intrinsic to India's literature and lore, is "complex" and that "efforts in the past have not been very successful". "The task before us is therefore a highly complex one. We will have to pool our intellectual and physical resources in a coordinated and coherent manner if we are to rise to this challenge," the prime minister said at the meeting.

The meeting was called after former Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) professor and environmentalist GD Agarwal, 80, sat on a fast-unto-death in January this year. He called off his fast March 23 after a government assurance to call an NGRBA meeting on April 17.

The authority was constituted under the chairmanship of the prime minister for cleaning the Ganga, but had met only twice since its inception in 2009. The body, which was mired in controversy after Rajendra Singh, Magsaysay award winner, and two other members resigned in mid-March, has an annual budget of Rs 500 crore ($100 million).

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Act quickly to restore glory of Ganga: PM

New Delhi, April 17 (IANS): Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said there is need to "act quickly" to restore the glory of the Ganga river, which provides water to over 40 percent of India's population in 11 States, but it should be done in a "rational and practical" way and not in a "piecemeal" manner.

Chairing the National Ganga River Basin Authority meet here today, the Prime Minister also admitted that preserving the river, deified by Hindus and intrinsic to India's literature and lore, is "complex" and that "efforts in the past have not been very successful". "The task before us is therefore a highly complex one. We will have to pool our intellectual and physical resources in a coordinated and coherent manner if we are to rise to this challenge," the prime minister said at the meeting.

The meeting was called after former Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) professor and environmentalist GD Agarwal, 80, sat on a fast-unto-death in January this year. He called off his fast March 23 after a government assurance to call an NGRBA meeting on April 17.

The authority was constituted under the chairmanship of the prime minister for cleaning the Ganga, but had met only twice since its inception in 2009. The body, which was mired in controversy after Rajendra Singh, Magsaysay award winner, and two other members resigned in mid-March, has an annual budget of Rs 500 crore ($100 million).