August 31, 2011

World Bank report lauds Bengal for development in Ganga basin

NEW DELHI: Critics of the Left Front in West Bengal may have blamed its 34-year rule for underdevelopment there, but a World Bank report has commended the state for growth and poverty reduction in the Ganga basin.

The World Bank report on the river Ganga, however, said other basin states -- Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand -- are hit by a "disproportionately high incidence of income poverty" and lagging in development and eradication of poverty.

"These basin states have a disproportionately high incidence of income poverty and, with the exception of West Bengal, have generally lagged in growth and poverty reduction," World Bank's Project Appraisal Document on National Ganga River Basin said.

According to the report, the Ganga basin is the most populous in the world, with more than 400 million people in India alone.

"It accounts for 25 per cent of India's water resources, and the five states on its mainstream are home to more than 50 per cent of the poor people in the country," it said.

The report said the Ganga basin exemplifies a typical "hydraulic civilisation", where achieving water security to harness the river's productive potential and limit its destructive potential is critical for sustenance and economic growth.

The report was made public last week after the government signed a $1 billion loan agreement with the World Bank for cleaning the river, which is seriously polluted and under extreme environmental stress.

PTI , Jun 19, 2011, 10.28am IST

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