India May Seek Private Investments to Fund Ganges River Cleanup

Aug 20, 2014 9:16 am ET

Aug. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government may seek investments from companies and Indians living overseas to help fund its national plan to rejuvenate the Ganges, India’s holiest river.

Work on cleaning the Ganges of industrial pollutants and raw sewage is expected to begin in six months, Uma Bharti, India’s water minister, said today. With the Supreme Court asking days earlier that a road map be devised to revive the Ganges, she said without disclosing how the water works would be financed that the government plans to “resolve the issue of pollution on the banks of the river” within three years.

The world’s second-most populous nation, where per-person water availability fell 15 percent in the last decade, also plans to link 30 rivers in the interior over the next 10 years to ensure water for drinking and irrigation in areas suffering shortages, the minister said from New Delhi.

The linking of the Ken and Betwa rivers in northern India will be the first such project approved by the government, with the aim to more equitably distribute river water in the country, Bharti said.