Ganga River, History of Ganga River, Ganga Ghat, Ganga Basin, Ganga Nadi, Ganges River, Location of Ganga River, Ganga Action Plan, Ganga Action Plan I, Ganga Action Plan II, Climate of Ganga, Causes of Pollution of Ganga River, Namami Gange programme.
About Ganga River
River Ganga has significant economic, environmental and cultural value in India. Rising in the Himalayas and flowing to the Bay of Bengal, the river traverses a course of more than 2,500 km through the plains of north and eastern India. The Ganga basin – which also extends into parts of Nepal, China and Bangladesh – accounts for 26 per cent of India’s landmass, 30 per cent of its water resources and more than 40 per cent of its population. The Ganga also serves as one of India’s holiest rivers whose cultural and spiritual significance transcends the boundaries of the basin. A river basin with the complexity of the Ganga cannot be managed from an environmental view point without the benefit of an adequate knowledge base, analytical tools, targeted research, and awareness building. Ganga Knowledge Centre (GKC) is set up at National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) primarily to address these issues and to enhance the quality of implementation of the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) program. GKC is conceptualized as a premiere and autonomous knowledge based institution which will blend system characterization, innovation and stakeholder participation so as to optimize the investments of NGRBA. The major objectives of GKC are:
• Create and manage knowledge resources including analysis and modeling of diverse data sets relevant to Ganga River Basin.
• Design and foster research innovation through identification of knowledge gaps, need for new ideas and supporting targeted research.
• Facilitate stakeholder dialogue through public involvement and building partnerships with universities/institutions of national & international repute, public & private entities and NGOs.
GKC will be one of its kinds of institution which will generate the state of art scientific and technical knowledge even while reflecting constantly on traditional and local knowledge but still remain focused on relevant issues and stay connected to the stakeholders.
The immediate outcome of the efforts of GKC would be:
• Knowledge & Knowledge based products including publications, online and multimedia products, virtual data bases and E library.
• Customized query management tools.
• Analysis of the proposed investments using the knowledge base and modeling tools.
• Sharing the development vision across agencies.
• Technical support to the social outreach and community participation activities.
• Training and capacity building at all levels.
The ultimate benefits of the efforts of GKC would lie in the meaningful engagement of all the stakeholders in the conservation of the Ganga river eco system through building a public opinion based on scientific knowledge and by infusion of fresh ideas/innovations. In such an endeavor GKC would establish itself as a Centre of Excellence with active collaboration with acclaimed peer institutions across the globe and by maintaining the state of art of knowledge.
The Ganges is one of the major rivers of the Indian subcontinent, flowing east through the Gangetic Plain of northern India into Bangladesh. The 2,510 km (1,560 mi) river rises in the western Himalayas in the Uttarakhand state of India, and drains into the Sunderbans delta in the Bay of Bengal. It has long been considered a holy river by Hindus and worshiped as the goddess Ganga in Hinduism. It has also been important historically: many former provincial or imperial capitals (such as Patliputra, Kannauj, Kara, Allahabad, Murshidabad,and Calcutta) have been located on its banks. The Ganges Basin drains 1,000,000-square-kilometre (390,000 sq mi) and supports one of the world`s highest densities of humans. The average depth of the river is 52 feet (16 m), and the maximum depth, 100 feet (30 m). The river has been declared as India`s National River. The many symbolic meanings of the river on the Indian subcontinent were spoken to in 1946 by Jawaharlal Nehru in his Discovery of India,
The Ganges, above all is the river of India, which has held India`s heart captive and drawn uncounted millions to her banks since the dawn of history. The story of the Ganges, from her source to the sea, from old times to new, is the story of India`s civilization and culture, of the rise and fall of empires, of great and proud cities, of adventures of man. Although many small streams comprise the headwaters of the Ganges, the six longest headstreams and their five confluences are given both cultural and geographical emphasis (see the map showing the headwaters of the river). The Alaknanda River meets the Dhauliganga River at Vishnuprayag, the Nandakini River at Nandprayag, the Pindar River at Karnaprayag, and the Mandakini River at Rudraprayag and finally the Bhagirathi River at Devprayag, to form the mainstream, the Ganges. The Bhagirathi is the source stream; it rises at the foot of Gangotri Glacier, at Gaumukh, at an elevation of 3,892 m (12,769 ft). The headwaters of the Alaknanda are formed by snowmelt from such peaks as Nanda Devi, Trisul, and Kamet.
The Ganges is a major river in the Indian subcontinent flowing east through the immeasurable plains of northern India into Bangladesh. The 2,510 km or 1,557 mi river originates at the Gangotri Glacier in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, in the central Himalayas, and empties into the Bay of Bengal through its vast delta in the Sunderbans. It has enjoyed a state of admiration among India`s Hindus, by whom it is worshipped in its incarnated form as the goddess Ganga. The river Ganges flows through India, Nepal and Bangladesh. The major cities along the River Ganges are Haridwar, Moradabad, Rampur, Allahabad, Kanpur, Patna, Varanasi and Raj Shahi. The Ganges Delta is at the Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh.
Joined by numerous rivers such as the Kosi, Son, Gandaki and Ghaghra, the Ganges forms a formidable current in the stretch between Allahabad and Malda in West Bengal. On its way it passes the towns of Kanpur, Soron, Kannauj, Allahabad, Varanasi, Patna, Ghazipur, Bhagalpur, Mirzapur, Ballia, Buxar, Saidpur, and Chunar. At Bhagalpur, the river meanders past the Rajmahal Hills, and begins to run south. At Pakur, the river begins its attrition with the branching away of its first distributary, the Bhagirathi-Hooghly, which goes on to form the Hooghly River. Near the border with Bangladesh the Farakka Barrage, built in 1974, controls the flow of the Ganges, diverting some of the water into a feeder canal linking the Hooghly to keep it relatively silt-free. The Ganges and its tributaries drain an enormous area about one million square kilometres. The Ganges drains the fertile basin and supports one of the world`s highest-density human populations. Almost half of the population of India lives on one-third of the landscape within 500 km of the Himalayan range along the Gangetic plains and depends on the River Ganges.
During the early Vedic Ages, the Indus and the Saraswati River were the chief rivers, not the Ganges. But later, the three Vedas seem to give much more significance to the Ganges, as shown by its plentiful references. Possibly the first Westerner to mention the name of Ganges was Megasthenese.
Ganges descended to the Earth through the lock of hair (Jata) of god Shiva to make whole earth pious, fertile and wash out the sins of humansAccording to Hindu religion a very famous king Bhagiratha did tapasya for many years constantly to bring the river Ganges, then residing in the Heavens, down on the Earth to find salvation for his ancestors, who were cursed by a seer. Therefore, Ganges descended to the Earth through the lock of hair (Jata) of god Shiva to make whole earth pious, fertile and wash out the sins of humans. For Hindus in India, the Ganges is not just a river but a mother, a goddess, a tradition, a culture and much more.
Ganga River is also said to be the river of supreme Lord Rama and also called “Ram Ganga” as there is a belief Lord Rama promised while Ganges emerged from his feet that, when He will appear on earth as Lord Rama will reside on the banks of Ganga and her tributaries. Lord Ram then appeared in Ayodhya which is on the banks of Saryu Ganga River, when he went to Janakpuri he crossed River Ganga in Haridwar. During his 14 years exile from Sita, his wife and brother Lakshmana after leaving Ayodhya his first night stay was at Tamsa River (Ganga tributaries), his second stay was at Shrungverpur which is on the banks of Ganga and with the help of Nishadraj Gruh and Kevat he crossed Ganga, he then went to Triveni sangam, Prayag Raj stayed with Muni Bharadvaj and then marched towards Chitrakoot and stayed there for 11 and half years on Kamadgiri parvat on the banks of Mandakini, holy stream. From there he went to Panchvati and stayed on the bank of Godavari until his wife sitaji was abducted by demon king Ravana. The search for his beloved wife Sita, Lord Rama went to Rameshwaram, as it is said all rivers meet the ocean.
Some Hindus also believe life is incomplete without taking a bath in Ganges at least once in their lives. Many Hindu families keep a vial of water from the Ganges in their house. This is done because it is prestigious to have water of the Holy Ganges in the house, and also so that if someone is dying, that person will be able to drink its water. Hindus also believe that the water from the Ganges cleanses a person`s soul of all past sins, and that it can also cure the ill.
Ganga Action Plan
About Ganga Action Plan I
The Ganga rises in the Garhwal Himalaya from the Gangotri Glacier, some 4100 meters above the sea level under the name of Bhagirathi. The river flows through the Himalayas till another two streams, the Mandakani and the Alakhnanda join it at Devprayag. It is below this confluence that the river is known as the Ganga proper. The Ganga Basin which is the largest river basin of the country houses about 40% population of India. The river after traversing a distance of 2525 kms. from its source, meets the Bay of Bengal at Ganga Sagar in West Bengal. During the course of its journey from the hills to the sea, municipal sewage from large urban centres, trade effluents from industries and polluting waste from several other non-point sources are discharged into the river resulting in its pollution.
Objectives of Ganga Action Plan I :
At the time of launching, the main objective of GAP was to improve the water quality of Ganga to acceptable standards by preventing the pollution load reaching the river. However, as decided in a meeting of the Monitoring Committee in June, 1987 under the Chairmanship of Prof. M. G. K. Menon, then Member, Planning Commission, the objective of GAP was recast as restoring the river water quality to the ‘Bathing Class’ standard which is as follows:
Bio-Chemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) 3 mg/l maximum
Dissolved Oxygen (DO) 5 mg/l minimum
Total Coliform 10,000 per 100 ml
Faecal Coliform 25,00 per 100 ml
About Ganga Action Plan II
The program of river cleaning was extended to other major rivers of the country under two separate schemes of GAP Phase – II and the National River Conservation Plan (NRCP). Yamuna and Gomati Action Plans were approved in April 1993 under Ganga Action Plan Phase – II. Programs of other major rivers were subsequently approved in 1995 under NRCP. After launching of NRCP in 1995, it was decided to merge GAP II with NRCP. A notification of this effect was issued on 05.12.1996.
Objectives of Ganga Action Plan II
The Ganga Action Plan besides aiming at improving the water quality of river Ganga is to serve as a model to demostrate the methodology for improving the water quality of other polluted rivers. Though the river water quality of Ganga has shown discernible improvement, the full impact of the action plan would be visible when the left out works in the 25 class I cities and the works in other class II and class III towns along the river Ganga are taken up. The important tributaries of river Ganga like,Yamuna,Gomati and Damodar which directly discharge into the river Ganga are heavily polluted and are taken up for pollution abatement Programmes.For this purpose, the second phase of Ganga Action Plan was started in stages between 1993 & 1996. Both Central & State Government Provided help and had equal Share that is 50:50 in the working of Ganga Action Plan (Phase II). After April 1997 Central Government took the full responsibility of this project & sanctioned the total cost Under Ganga Action Plan.Other river conservation plans for Yamuna,Gomati and Damodar have also been accepted and the goverment has sanctionedd Rs.2285.48 crore for the same. This money will help in statrting 441 projects in 95 cities under the plan. Implementation of the plan finally commenced w.e.f. 1.4.2001. The funding pattern was changed to 70:30 between centre and state subsequently.
States Covered in Ganga Action Plan II
Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Delhi, Haryana
Towns Covered in Ganga Action Plan Phase-II
Uttarakhand: Haridwar-Rishikesh, Ranipur, Joshinath, Gopeshwar, Karan Prayag, Rudra Prayag, Badrinath, Sri-Nagar, Deo Prayag, Uttar Kashi.
Uttar Pradesh: Agra, Etawah, Ghaziabad, Mathura, Muzaffarnagar, Noida, Saharanpur, Varindavan, Lucknow, Sultanpur, Jaunpur, Ghazipur, Allahabad, Kanpur, Varanasi, Mirzapur, Farrukkabad, MugalSarai, Saidpur, Garmukteswar, Bijnor, Chunar, Anupshaher.
Bihar: Arrah,Chapra, Bhagalpur, Munger, Patna, Fatwah, Barh, Sultanganj, Barahya, Buxar, Mokamah, Kahelgaon, Hajipur.
Jharkhand: Ramgarh,Dugdha, Jharia, Chirkunda, Sindri, Telmuchu, Sudamdih, Bokaro-Kargili, Sahebganj.
West Bengal: Raniganj, Asansol, Andal, Durgapur, Barrackpore, Bansberia, Rishra, Baidyabati, CircularCanal, Tolly’s Nallah, Budge Budge, Badreswar Champdani, CETP-Calcutta, Naihati, Kharda(Extended), Gayespur Halilshar & Kancharapara, Konnagar, Uttarpara Kotrung, North Barrackpore, Jijganj Azimganj, Diamond Harbour, Garulia, Katwa, Dhulian, Jangipur, Mahestala, Chakdah, Murshidabad, Siliguri.
Haryana: Chhahhrauli, Faridabad, Gharaunda, Gohana, Gurgaon, Indri, Karnal, Panipat, Palwaal, Radaur, Sonepat, Yamunanagar-Jagdhari.
Ganga basin is the largest river basin in India in terms of catchment area, constituting 26% of the country’s land mass (8,61,404 Sq. km) and supporting about 43% of its population (448.3 million as per 2001 census). The basin lies between East longitudes 73°02’ and 89°05’ and North latitudes of 21°06’ and 31°21’, covering an area of 1,086,000 sq km, extending over India, Nepal and Bangladesh. About 79% area of Ganga basin is in India. The basin covers 11 states viz., Uttarakhand, U.P., M.P., Rajasthan, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal and Delhi.The current focus of world bank funded National Ganga River Basin Projects (NGRBP) of NMCG is on five major states on the main stem of river Ganga namely Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal. The drainage area in each state is given below.
States Drainage area(km)
Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh 294,364
Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh 198,962
Bihar and Jharkhand 143,961
West Bengal 71,485
Himachal Pradesh 4,317
The annual average rainfall in the basin varies between 39 cm to 200 cm, with an average of 110 cm. Eighty percent of the rainfall occurs during the monsoon months i.e. from June to October. Because of large temporal variations in precipitation over the year, there is wide fluctuation in the flow characteristics of the river.
Hydrology of Ganga Basin
Rainfall, subsurface flows and snow melt from glaciers are the main sources of water in river Ganga. Surface water resources of Ganga have been assessed at 525 billion cubic meter (BCM). Out of its 17 main tributaries Yamuna, Sone, Ghagra and Kosi contribute over half of the annual water yield of the Ganga. These tributaries meet the Ganga at Allahabad and further downstream. The river has a problem of low flows between the Haridwar – Allahabad stretch. December to May are the months of lean flow in the Ganga.
On an average, each square km of the Ganga basin receives a million cubic meter (MCM) of water as rainfall. 30% of this is lost as evaporation, 20% seeps to the subsurface and the remaining 50% is available as surface runoff. The deep channel of the river bounded by high banks facilitates the passage of ground water as base flow. Annual flooding is the characteristic of all rivers in the Ganga basin. The Ganga rises during the monsoon but the high banks restrict the flood water from spreading. The flood plain is usually 0.5 to 2 km wide. This active flood plain is flooded every year. In addition to this the existing structures on the Ganga Basin also affect its discharge.
Rapidly increasing population, rising standards of living and exponential growth of industrialisation and urbanisation have exposed water resources, in general, and rivers, in particular, to various forms of degradation. The mighty Ganga is no exception. The deterioration in the water quality impacts the people immediately. Ganga, in some stretches, particularly during lean seasons has become unfit even for bathing. The threat of global climate change, the effect of glacial melt on Ganga flow and the impacts of infrastructural projects in the upper reaches of the river, raise issues that need a comprehensive response.
In the Ganga basin approximately 12,000 million litres per day (mld) sewage is generated, for which presently there is a treatment capacity of only around 4,000 mld. Approximately 3000 mld of sewage is discharged into the main stem of the river Ganga from the Class I & II towns located along the banks, against which treatment capacity of about 1000 mld has been created till date. The contribution of industrial pollution, volume-wise, is about 20 per cent but due to its toxic and non- biodegradable nature, this has much greater significance. The industrial pockets in the catchments of Ramganga and Kali rivers and in Kanpur city are significant sources of industrial pollution. The major contributors are tanneries in Kanpur, distilleries, paper mills and sugar mills in the Kosi, Ramganga and Kali river catchments.
Soil Charcterstices of Ganga Basin
The Ganga basin consists of a wide variety of soils. While soils of the high Himalayas in the north are subject to continuous erosion, the Gangetic plain provides a huge receptacle into which thousands of meters of thick layers of sediments have been deposited to form a wide valley plain. The Deccan plateau on the south has a mantle of residual soils of varying thickness arising out of weathering of ancient rocks of the peninsular shield. Some of the soils are highly susceptible to erosion. Mountain soils, submontane soils and alluvial soils, covering 58% of the basin area, have very high erodibility; red soils covering 12% of the basin area have high erodibility, red & yellow soils and mixed red and black soils covering an area of 8% have moderate erodibility, and deep black soils and medium black soils covering an area of 14% have low erodibility Shallow black soils and lateritic soils covering an area of 6% have very low erodibility.
Broadly, it can be said that soils in Haryana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, through which the main stem of Ganga and all its tributaries flow, have very high erodibility.
Namami Gange Programme
The key achievements under Namami Gange programme are as Follows
1. Creating Sewerage Treatment Capacity:- 63 sewerage management projects under implementation in the States of Uttarakhand,Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal.12 new sewerage management Projects Launched in these states.Work is under construction for creating Sewerage capacity of 1187.33 (MLD).Hybrid Annuity PPP Model based two projects has been initiated for Jagjeetpur, Haridwar and Ramanna, Varanasi.
2. Creating River-Front Development:-28 River-Front Development projects and 33 Entry level Projects for construction, modernization and renovation of 182 Ghats and 118 crematoria has been initiated.
3. River Surface Cleaning:-River Surface cleaning for collection of floating solid waste from the surface of the Ghats and River and its disposal are afoot and pushed into service at 11 locations.
4. Bio-Diversity Conservation:- Several Bio-Diversity conservation projects are namely: Biodiversity Conservation and Ganga Rejuvenation, Fish and Fishery Conservation in Ganga River, Ganges River Dolphin Conservation Education Programme has been initiated. 5 Bio-Diversity center’s at Dehradun, Narora, Allahabad, Varanasi and Barrackpore has been developed for restoration of identified priority species.
5. Afforestation:- Forestry interventions for Ganga through Wildlife Institute of India; Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute and Centre for Environment Education has been initiated.Forestry interventions for Ganga has been executed as per the Detailed Project Report prepared by Forest Research Institute, Dehradun for a period of 5 years (2016-2021) at project cost of Rs.2300 Crores. Work has been commenced in 7 districts of Uttarakahnd for medicinal plants.
6. Public Awareness:- A series of activities such as events, workshops, seminars and conferences and numerous IEC activities were organized to make a strong pitch for public outreach and community participation in the programme. Various awareness activities through rallies, campaigns, exhibitions, shram daan, cleanliness drives, competitions, plantation drives and development and distribution of resource materials were organized and for wider publicity the mass mediums such as TV/Radio, print media advertisements, advertorials, featured articles and advertorials were published. Gange Theme song was released widely and played on digital media to enhance the visibility of the programme. NMCG ensured presence at Social Media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, You Tube etc.
7. Industrial Effluent Monitoring:- Real Time Effluent Monitoring Stations (EMS) has been installed in 572 out of 760 Grossly Polluting Industries (GPIs). Closure notice have been issued to 135 GPIs so far and others have been given deadlines for compliance to stipulated norms and for installations of online EMS.
8. Ganga Gram:- Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (MoDWS) identified 1674 Gram Panchayats situated on the bank of River Ganga in 5 State (Uttarakhand,Uttar Pradesh,Bihar,Jharkhand,West Bengal). Rs. 578 Crores has been released to Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (MoDWS) for construction of toilets in 1674 Gram Panchayats of 5 Ganga Basin States. Out of the targeted 15, 27,105 units, MoDWS has completed construction of 8, 53,397 toilets. Consortium of 7 IITs has been engaged in the preparation of Ganga River basin Plan and 65 villages has been adopted by 13 IITs to develop as model villages. UNDP has been engaged as the executing agency for rural sanitation programme and to develop Jharkhand as a model State at an estimated cost of Rs. 127 Crore.
National Mission for Clean Ganga, endeavors to deploy best available knowledge and resources across the world for Ganga rejuvenation. Clean Ganga has been a perennial attraction for many international countries that have expertise in river rejuvenation. Countries such as Australia, United Kingdom, Germany, Finland, Israel etc. have shown interest in collaborating with India for Ganga rejuvenation. Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) were signed with various Central Ministries viz.- Ministry of Human Resource Development, Ministry of Rural Development, Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Shipping, Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Ayush, Ministry of Petroleum, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation and Ministry of Agriculture for synergizing the Government schemes.