Draft National River Ganga Bill, 2018
Why in News?
- Draft of “The National River Ganga (Rejuvenation, Protection and Management) Bill 2018” provides for the constitution of Ganga Protection Corps as an armed force of the union.
Highlights of the bill:
- The government has banned the construction of jetties, ports or “permanent hydraulic structures” in the Ganga, unless permitted by the National Ganga Rejuvenation Authority.
- Proposes to create a management structure that will supervise the health of the 2,500- kilometre long Ganga which, the draft Bill defines, as ‘India’s national river.’
- It lays down a host of restrictions to ensure the uninterrupted, ecological flow of the river.
- The proposed legislation specifies that “unauthorised” activities that cause obstruction or discontinuity of water in the River Ganga due to engineered diversion of water or stoppage of water could be liable to a prison term of 3 years or fines upto ₹50 crore, or both.
- The Ganga Protection Corps is proposed to be empowered to arrest or caused to be arrested for offence under the Act, and to take the person to the nearest police station. The Court would take cognizance of the offence on the basis of the complaint filed by the officers who are authorized under the proposed Act.
- The draft Act contemplates certain provisions conferring powers to the “National Council for Rejuvenation, Protection and Management of River Ganga” [National Ganga Council] to arrange to carry out or caused to be carried out impact assessment of certain projects and activities which affect or are likely to affect the flow of water in river Ganga, such as building barrages, deforestation on hill slopes, hydroelectric projects etc.
National Ganga Council:
- The National Ganga Council will be overall responsible for the superintendence, direction, development and control of River Ganga and the entire River Basin (including financial and administrative matters) for the protection, prevention, control and abatement of environmental pollution in River Ganga and its rejuvenation to its natural and pristine condition and to ensure continuous adequate flow of water in the River Ganga and for matters connected therewith.
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