Environmentalists have been trying to restore the river and are opposing construction of dams on the river or its tributaries in the Himalayan region.
Their efforts got a boost when on August 24, 2010, Government of India decided to scrap the Loharinag-Pala, Pala-Maneri and Bhaironghati Hydroelectric projects on the Bhagirathi river (a tributaryof Ganga) and has also declared approximately 135 km section from Gaumukh (Headwaters of the Ganga) to Uttarkashi as an eco-sensitive zone under the Environment Protection Act (1986).
Above initiatives by Government of India have given hope to millions of devotees working for conservation and restoration of Ganga. Now it is the turn of the civil society to make Ganga a ‘’ nirmal evam avirat’’ (clean and free- flowing) river.
On August 28, 2010, Mr Jai Ram Ramesh (Hon’ble Minsiter of Environment and Forests, Government of India), while addressing a workshop at Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, has announced the formation of GANGA Panchayat. (Panchyat usually means a group of five wise persons elected as Trustees or Caretakers. But this number could be more depending upon the task.).
This formation process of GANGA Panchayat will be lead by Mr. Rajendra Singh, the Charman of Tarun Bharat Sangh, an NGO from Rajasthan state, which has successfylly carried out watershed development projects in semi-arid areas.
The process will start from 1st October 2010 for about 2 months. In this process Mr. Rajendra Singh will travel all along the course of Ganga river and find dedicated people who could devote their time and energy for improving Ganga .
Any interested volunteers, students, politicians, bureaucrats, technocrats, academicians, journalists, institutes, organizations and people from various walks of life, would be invited by the Panchatyat to join this arduous task.
For more information visit the Ganga River Basin Management Plan website.