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Ganges Dolphin Declared National Aquatic Animal Of India
The endangered Ganges river dolphin has been declared India's national aquatic animal. This was communicated by a spokesperson of the Ministry of Environment and Forests.
According to World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), India statistics, there are only about 2000 Ganges dolphins left in this aquatic system. And, this step would surely ensure more protection to this species. Stating the main reasons behind the drop in dolphin numbers, the spokesperson said, "Poaching and habitat degradation due to declining flow, heavy siltation and construction of barrages causing physical barrier for this migratory species are the main reasons for its decline in numbers".
Earlier, the government had taken the decision to declare the Ganges river dolphin as India's national aquatic animal on Oct 5 last year during the first meeting of the newly-constituted National Ganga River Basin Authority.
According to the WWF, the dolphins are sparsely found in rivers of seven states such as Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal. Their ideal habitats include the Ganga, Chambal, Ghaghra, Gandak, Sone, Kosi, the Brahmaputra and Kulsi rivers. --- READ MORE
Ganga Action Plan
- An action plan, popularly known as “Ganga Action Plan” (GAP) for immediate reduction of pollution load on the river Ganga was prepared by Department of Environment (now Ministry of Environment & Forests) in December 1984 on the basis of a survey on Ganga basin carried out by the Central Pollution Control Board in 1984.
- To oversee the implementation of the GAP and lay down policies and programmes, Government of India constituted the Central Ganga Authority (CGA) under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in February 1985.
- It was later renamed as the National River Conservation Authority (NRCA) in September 1995,. The Cabinet approved GAP in April 1985 as a 100 per cent centrally sponsored scheme.
- The GAP was thus launched in June 1985 with the establishment of the Ganga Project Directorate (GPD), renamed as the NRCD (National River Conservation Directorate) in June 1994, as a wing of the Department of Environment, to execute the projects under the guidance and supervision of the CGA. The state agencies like Public Health Engineering Department, Water and Sewage Boards, Pollution Control Boards, Development Authorities, Local Bodies etc. were responsible for actual implementation of the scheme.
- More than two decades after Rajiv Gandhi conceptualised the Ganga Action Plan (GAP), Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on November 3, 2008 decided to declare Ganga a ‘National River’ to achieve the objectives of the clean-up operation.
- It was also decided to set up a Ganga River Basin Authority, which will be entrusted with the responsibility of planning, implementing and monitoring projects regarding the river.
- The authority, headed by the Prime Minister, would comprise of chief ministers of states through which the Ganga flows.
- Unlike the original Ganga Action Plan, which primarily focused on municipal sewage treatment, November 2008 decisions were aimed at broad-basing the river management efforts, integrating pollution control with measures for sustainable use of water and flood management.
- The Dophins found in Ganga are rare species. Union government has declared them as the national aquatic animal on October 5, 2009. This decision was taken in the first meeting of the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday October5, 2009.
- The Ganges River Dolphin (Biological name: Platanista gangetica gangetica) is a sub-species of freshwater or river dolphins found in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan.
- The Ganges River Dolphin is primarily found in the Ganges and Brahmaputra Rivers and their tributaries in India, Bangladesh and Nepal.