Forests in catchment area can prevent Ganga pollution: Javadekar

New Delhi, March 22 (IANS) Forests and more greenery should be developed in the catchment areas of the Ganga river to rid it of pollution, Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Prakash Javadekar said on Tuesday.

Terming the Narendra Modi government’s commitment to keep the Ganga “alive” and free from pollution, he said forests should be “set up in the catchment area” of the river to maintain the lively relationship between forests and water.

The minister was speaking after releasing a Detailed Project Report (DPR) on Forestry Intervention for Ganga here alongwith Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti.

The project report submitted to the government by the Forest Research Institute (FRI) in Dehradun envisages active involvement of two battalions of the Eco Task Force in the states of Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh for raising plantations in difficult terrains, official sources said.

Javadekar said trees prevent soil erosion, recharge water and also increase the level of groundwater.

Agreeing with Javadekar, Bharti said large-scale vegetation along the Ganga will also help enrich the aqua life.

She said the plantation programme will start from Uttarakhand.

Javadekar said that from time immemorial, vegetation along the Ganga had medicinal powers to keep the river water clean.

Complimenting the experts of FRI for their contribution in the preparation of the voluminous report, Bharti said her ministry will start implementing the report very soon.

The DPR was prepared by the FRI after extensive consultations with various stakeholders and incorporating science based methodology.

This included use of remote sensing and GIS technologies for spatial analysis.

Extensive plantation in natural, agriculture, and urban landscapes besides conservation interventions such as soil and water conservation, riparian wildlife management and wetland management and mass awareness campaigns have been envisioned in the DPR.

Altogether, 40 different plantation and treatment models have been selected for implementation by Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, and West Bengal.

The project will be implemented over a period of five years by the state forest departments under Phase-I between 2016 to 2021.

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