It is not just the opposition which is out to target Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s emotive connect with the river Ganga. Statistics show that very little has been done in the past two years of BJP rule — in spite of spending Rs 2,958 crore of the Rs 3,703 crore allocated — to improve the condition of the holy river. The response to a Right to Information (RTI) poser to the PMO has revealed that the much-hyped ‘Namami Gange’ programme is largely on paper.
It is revealed that Rs 2,137cr was allocated for the national mission of Ganga cleaning in 2014-15. This was cut by Rs 84cr to Rs 2,053cr. But the union government, despite the hype, spent only Rs 326cr, leaving more than Rs 1,700cr unspent. The situation did not change much in 2015-16 either and, in fact, the union government slashed the budgetary allocation from the proposed Rs 2,750 crore to Rs 1,650 crore. Of the amended budget, Rs 18 crore was unspent in 2015-16.