The Quint Responds to Water Ministry on the Ganga Clean-Up Report

The National Mission for Clean Ganga from the Ministry of Water Resources issued a clarification to The Quint's article on Namami Gange titled: Little Hope for Ganga Clean-Up? Only 1/10th of Budget Spent So Far.

The Quint published the clarification on 29 April. However, the Ministry’s response appears to inadvertently obfuscate certain facts raised in The Quint’s original report. Here’s our rebuttal.

Budget, Allocation and Expenditure

The Quint reported:
Of the Rs 20,000 crore approved, only Rs 3,633 crore has been allocated, of which only Rs 1,836.4 crore has been spent from 2014 to 2017 on Namami Gange. The source of this is a written response by Minister of State for Ministry of Water Resources, Vijay Goel, in the Rajya Sabha on 10 April 2017.

Clarification issued by the National Mission for Clean Ganga:

It has been said that Namami Gange project is moving at a very slow pace. It has also been mentioned in the story that of the Rs 20,000 crore, only a few lakh have been spent. These figures are not correct. In the last two years (2015-2016 and 2016-17), under the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG ), Rs 1,665.41 crore have been spent, whereas in the four years preceding this period, NMCG spent only Rs 625.88 crore.

The Quint’s response
1. The original report does not say that “only a few lakh rupees have been spent” as claimed by the Ministry’s clarification. Our original report clearly says Rs 1,836 crore has been spent.

2. The figures provided by the National Mission for Clean Ganga quote Rs 1,665.41 crore over 2015-2016 and 2016-2017. Whereas the data presented by The Quint sourced from the Ministry on the Rajya Sabha website includes total money spent since the inception of Namami Gange in 2014. The Ministry’s response fails to specify if any money was allocated and spent in 2014-2015.

Ghats and Crematoria

The Quint’s Original Report:
Work on 269 bathing ghats and crematoria has been initiated and not one has been completed yet.

Clarification issued by the National Mission for Clean Ganga:

It has been said in the video that work has not begun on any ghat or crematorium. This is not based on facts. Work is in progress on 50 ghats and 15 crematoria. Instructions have been issued to contractors to begin work on 42 ghats and 31 crematoria. Tendering processes have begun for 90 ghats and 72 crematoria. In some states, delay in constructing ghats and crematoria was due to unavailability of NOCs (no objection certificates).

The Quint’s clarification:
Nowhere in its original report does The Quint dispute the fact that some work has begun in the number of ghats identified by the Ministry. In the original report, we have stated that of the “296 bathing ghats + crematoria planned, not one has been completed”. But it is also a fact, that not a single ghat or crematorium has been completed as of 27 April 2017, the day on which the report was published.