About Us

The Government of India declared the holy river GANGA as a “national river on 4 Nov 2008. Thereafter, on January 19, 2010, the critically endangered Ganges river dolphin was declared India’s national aquatic animal. For the first time in the history of India, a river has been given this status. This landmark event is linked to the research done by Professor GD Agrawal, a former dean of IIT Kanpur whose contention was that unless the hydropower projects between Gangotri  glacier that feeds the Ganga  and Uttarkashi were stopped, the Ganga would be reduced to a series of dry riverbeds, small lakes and tunnels carrying water for electricity.  In June 2008, he threatened to fast unto death unless all development work on such projects was halted and eventually his persistence to save the Ganga paid.

The status of a “National River” for Ganga, facilitated the constitution of a National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) an empowered planning, financing, monitoring and coordinating body on 20 Feb 2009 under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 for cleaning of the river Ganga. The Authority is chaired by the Prime Minister and has as its members the Union Ministers concerned and also the Chief Ministers of the States through which Ganga flows, viz., Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal etc. The objective of NGRBA  is to ensure pollution prevention and conservation of the river Ganga by adopting a river basin approach.

In the Mission ‘Clean Ganga’ which aims to ensure that no untreated sewage enters the River Ganga by the year 2020, a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) was signed by the Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF) on 6 July 2009, with a consortium of seven IITs for the development of Ganga River Basin Management Plan (GRBMP), implementation of which is expected to result in the restoration of the ‘wholesomeness’ of all the rivers in the Ganga basin. It is for the first time that a consortium of 7 IITs have come together for a project of such national importance and magnitude. The preparation of the first phase of the plan is expected to be complete within a period of 18 months.

GRBMP will aim to have adequate provision for water and energy in the Ganga basin to accommodate the pressures of increased population, urbanization, industrialization and agriculture while ensuring the sanctity of the fundamental aspects of the river system are protected. These include:

(i) river must continuously flow (Aviral Dhaara)
(ii) river must not be seen as a carrier of waste loads (Nirmal Dhaara)
(iii) river must have longitudinal and lateral connectivity
(iv) river must have adequate space for its various functions
(v) river must function as an ecological entity

Under the plan there are eight thematic groups coordinated by a Project Implementation and Coordination Committee (PICC):

Theme I: Environmental Quality and Pollution (EQP)
Theme II: Water Resources Management (WRM)
Theme III: Fluvial Geomorphology (FGM)
Theme IV: Ecology and Biodiversity (EBD)
Theme V: Socio-Economic-Cultural (SEC)
Theme VI: Policy, Law and Governance (PLG)
Theme VII: Geo-spatial Database Management (GDM)
Theme VIII: Communication (COM)

To implement this initiative, it is necessary to mobilize the general public/NGOs (Ganga panchayat) as watchdogs, strengthening the statutory status of community-based organizations and empowering them for participation in GRBMP. The integration and co-ordination of activities with the involvement of students in monitoring the effectiveness of implementation of GRBMP would also have a positive impact on the water quality and health of river Ganga. This is when the website Gangapedia was launched with the objective to foster coordination amongst people with the love for GangaMaa and bring together experts on the subject to share their knowledge and experience.

Gangapedia is the landing page for GRBMP and is expected to

  • Host project deliverables
  • Act as a platform for project management
  • Act as a social co-created repository for Ganga lore
  • Act as a platform for public debate on issues related to the Ganga River Basin
  • Jana Gyan + Gyan Dhara 

It aims to consult, discuss and take feedbacks from the national and state level stakeholders, policy makers as well as the general public at large on the status, issues and challenges to implement the GRBMP and to narrow down the and knowledge gaps among institutions and key stakeholders.