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U.S. to help India clean River Ganges, says envoy

Varanasi, Dec.17 : U.S. Ambassador to India Richard Verma said on Thursday that the United States would cooperate with India in cleaning the River Ganges in Varanasi.

Verma, who attended a meeting with Indian officials working to clean up the Ganges, was made aware of the problems faced by locals in cleaning the holy river and how they could rrive at tangible solutions.

The president of the Panchganga Foundation, an organisation that works for the protection and preservation of the environment, Hemant Gupta, said America’s experience in cleaning their rivers would help them restore the Ganges.

Ambassador Verma, who is in Varanasi on a two-day visit, said, “We discussed about cleaning the Ganges and what some of the challenges were, what some of the opportunities were, how we could partner together. I also said that environment cooperation between our two countries, I do think it is one of the big areas of cooperation in the future, environmental and clean energies. So, we talked about the ways that we can engage in technical collaboration, scientific collaboration, government to government. So, those are some of the areas we talked about.”

Hemant Gupta, President of the Panchganga Foundation, said, “The ambassador has told us, assured us that he will talk to the government, that new techniques, best things they have done with their rivers, how have they cleaned their rivers. They will share their views, their experiences, how have they enforced the laws and the jurisdiction to clean their rivers in USA. And that probably might help us to clean river Ganga.

An Integrated Ganga Conservation Mission called “Namami Gange” has been set up and a sum of Rs. 2,037 crores has been set aside by the government for this purpose. In addition, a sum of Rs. 100 crores has been allocated for developments of ghats and beautification of river fronts at Kedarnath, Haridwar, Kanpur, Varanasi, Allahabad, Patna and Delhi in the current financial year.

Accordingly, Namami Gange approaches Ganga Rejuvenation by consolidating the existing ongoing efforts and planning for a concrete action plan for future.

It is expected that the interventions at ghats and river fronts will facilitate better citizen connect and set the tone for river-centric urban planning processes. (ANI)