NEW DELHI: The National Environmental Engineering and Research Institute – conducting a research for establishing the medicinal benefits of the Ganga river and its related health impact on crores of people taking a dip in the holy river – will submit its report after monsoon, Union minister Uma Bharti said on Tuesday.
Speaking to the media about the performance of the Water Resources Ministry headed by her, Ms Bharti also said she had written a letter to the CAG last week, asking it to conduct a concurrent audit of all the projects undertaken by the ministry. This is aimed at ensuring “transparency” in its functioning, she said.
“Ganga used to have an exclusive property called Brahmadrav. Its water had medicinal values and could fight pollution. NEERI is looking for those medicinal values. It will submit its report to us after the monsoon,” she said.
The minister said that the claim that the Ganga water has medicinal properties is not “a myth, but is scientific” and added that Brahmadrav, produced due to friction between medicinal herbs in the Himalayas and snow, is capable of “giving life and fighting illnesses”.
“NEERI is studying whether the properties are still there or they have disappeared after dams and reservoirs were constructed…Whether sewage or chemicals have led to a change if any,” she said.
Ms Bharti described the preparation of a detailed project report on forestry intervention along Ganga as one of the biggest achievements of her ministry. As part of the forestry intervention project, the government plans to plant four crore trees along the river.
On Clean Ganga mission, she said the phase-I entry level activities to clean the surface of the holy river will be completed in October, while its second leg will be over by July 2018.
Ms Bharti said she will visit Israel later this month to have first-hand knowledge of water management systems there.
During the four-day visit starting June 26, her ministry will sign MoUs with the Isareli government on sharing of technologies, especially those relating to the use of sprinkler and drip irrigation in farming, the minister said. She said efforts will be made to encourage farmers in India to use such technologies.
Ms Bharti said the ministry has prioritised 46 projects under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana. Of these, 23 will be completed by 2017 and the rest by 2020, she said.