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Arth Ganga: a battle between Water Management, Governance, and Tourism?

The Ganga, has been at the center of a comprehensive plan called Arth Ganga that seeks to develop tourism circuits along the river.

By Florence Das
New Update
what is arth ganga project

The Ganga, one of India's most iconic and sacred rivers, has been at the center of a comprehensive plan called Arth Ganga that seeks to develop tourism circuits along the river. Since its inception, the Arth Ganga program has been met with both enthusiasm and skepticism. The critics have pointed out the challenges of balancing the needs of tourism development with the imperative of conservation and sustainable development.

Development under Arth Ganga

While the program has faced its share of challenges since its launch in 2020, recent developments have brought renewed hope for its success. In 2020, the government announced a ₹5,000 crore budget for the Arth Ganga program. The program aims to create sustainable tourism infrastructure, including riverfront development, water sports activities, and eco-tourism.

In 2022, the Ministry of Tourism launched the Ganga Utsav festival, a six-day event aimed at promoting tourism and showcasing the cultural and spiritual significance of the Ganga. The festival was a major success, drawing thousands of visitors to the river and showcasing the potential of the Arth Ganga program to promote sustainable tourism and conservation.

Despite challenges, the Arth Ganga program has made significant progress in developing sustainable tourism infrastructure along the river. One of the most notable initiatives has been the development of turtle sanctuaries in Varanasi. These sanctuaries have not only helped conserve endangered species but, also attracted tourists interested in eco-tourism. Similarly, the development of riverfronts in Haridwar has enhanced the city's aesthetics. In addition, has also attracted tourists interested in water sports and other activities.

These initiatives demonstrate the potential of the Arth Ganga program to promote sustainable tourism and conservation along the river. However, the program must continue to address the challenges it faces, including water management and governance issues, to ensure that tourism development does not come at the cost of the river's health.

Major Challenges in the Program

Despite these efforts, the success of the Arth Ganga program is uncertain due to several water management and governance issues that have plagued the Ganges for years. The Ganges is considered one of the most polluted rivers globally, with high levels of industrial waste, sewage, and chemical runoff. The river's deteriorating health affects the environment. Furthermore, poses a significant health hazard to the people living in the region.

One of the main challenges is the issue of water management and governance, which is crucial for the health of the river. The Ganga is facing several environmental challenges, including pollution from industrial and domestic sources, unsustainable agricultural practices, and climate change. These challenges are placing a strain on the river's resources, and effective water management and governance are needed to address them.

Another challenge is the need for coordination among stakeholders, including government agencies, local communities, and private sector actors. To develop sustainable tourism infrastructure along the river, it is important to ensure that all stakeholders are working together and that their interests are aligned. This can be challenging, as different stakeholders may have different priorities and objectives.

The Ganges is a highly regulated river, with several dams and barrages built along its course to manage water resources. This regulation has disrupted the river's natural flow, causing erosion, sedimentation, and flooding in some areas, while other areas face water scarcity. These issues can pose challenges for developing sustainable tourism infrastructure along the river, as the water's quality and availability are essential factors for tourism activities such as river rafting, kayaking, and boating.

Way Ahead

Furthermore, there is a need to balance the needs of tourism development with the imperative of conservation and sustainable development. While tourism can bring economic benefits to local communities and generate revenue for the government, it can also have negative impacts on the environment and local communities. It is important to ensure that tourism development is sustainable. Furthermore, to does not compromise the health of the river or the livelihoods of local communities.

Finally, there is a need to ensure that the Arth Ganga program is inclusive and benefits all stakeholders, including marginalized communities and women. Women are often excluded from the tourism industry, and it is important to ensure that they have equal access to opportunities and benefits.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Arth Ganga program represents a bold and ambitious plan to develop tourism circuits along one of India's most iconic rivers, while also addressing complex issues of water management and governance. While the program faces significant challenges, recent developments have demonstrated its potential to promote sustainable tourism and conservation. Addressing these challenges will be crucial for the success of the Arth Ganga program. It will require a concerted effort from all stakeholders, including government agencies, local communities, and private sector actors.

If these challenges are successfully addressed, the program has the potential to promote sustainable tourism and conservation along the Ganga, while also supporting local communities and enhancing the cultural and spiritual significance of the river. With continued effort and attention to the challenges at hand, the Arth Ganga program can play a significant role in developing tourism infrastructure along the Ganga, while also ensuring its long-term health and sustainability.

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