Clean Ganga Mission Approves 10 Projects worth Rs 2,000 crore
India has many rivers flowing across its length and breadth, and of all of them River Ganga is the most significant with economic, environmental and cultural value. The Ganges rises at the Gangotri Glacier in the Himalayas, and after traversing a course of more than 2,500 km through the plains of north and eastern India, merges with the Bay of Bengal. The Ganges accounts for 26 per cent of India’s landmass, 30 per cent of its water resources and more than 40 per cent of its population.
Apart from its economic value, Ganga also is one of the holiest rivers in India and its cultural and spiritual significance transcends the boundaries of the basin. It is unfortunate, but the river that has been the lifeline of India and provides water to about 40% of India’s population across 11 states has been declared as the fifth most polluted river in the world.
Pollution of the Ganges is not a recent phenomenon and has been an old and continuous process since decades. The river today is severely polluted with human waste and industrial contaminants and poses significant threats to human health and the larger environment. In fact, it has been found that stretches of over six hundred kilometres of the Ganges were essentially ecologically dead zones.
Namami Gange Programme
Prime Minister Narendra Modi realising the need for action at the earliest to rescue a river that has nurtured us through time immemorial affirmed to work in cleaning the river and controlling pollution and announced the Namami Ganga project in the July 2014 budget. The ‘Namami Gange Programme’, is an Integrated Conservation Mission. It was approved by the Union Government in June 2014, as a ‘Flagship Programme’ with a budget outlay of Rs.20,000 crore. The aim of the project is to clean the Ganga and its tributaries in a comprehensive manner. The objectives of the programme included effective abatement of pollution, conservation and rejuvenation of National River Ganga by adopting the following steps:
- Sewerage Treatment Infrastructure
- River-Front Development
- River-Surface Cleaning
- Public Awareness
- Industrial Effluent Monitoring
- Ganga Gram
Current Status – August 2017
The National Mission for Clean Ganga, in a move to boost the Ganga rejuvenation plan, has approved ten projects in Bihar, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh to the tune of about Rs 2,033 crore. In the 5th Executive Committee meeting of the National Mission for Clean Ganga the following projects have been approved:
- Eight projects pertaining to sewage infrastructure and treatment
- One project related to ghat development
- One project to establish Ganga Knowledge Centre.
Details of the approved projects
- Bihar has got three major sewage infrastructure projects in Barh, Kankarbagh and Digha. The estimated cost of this project is Rs 1,461 crore, which would create additional sewage treatment capacity in Kankarbagh and Barh.
- Three projects have been approved in West Bengal including two pertaining to sewage infrastructure and the third for river front development. The estimated cost for the said project is Rs 495.47 crore. The Ganga in Howrah as well as Tolly’s Nullah (popularly known as Adi Ganga), a tributary of Ganga in Kolkata will be treated for pollution abatement and rehabilitation work at a total estimated cost of Rs 492.34 crore.
- The Boral Ferry and the Boral Bathing Ghats in Nabadwip town of West Bengal will also be renovated at an estimated cost of 3.13 crore INR. The renovation will include river bank protection work, construction of waiting rooms and stairs, and seating arrangements.
- In Uttar Pradesh a sewage infrastructure project has been approved at an estimated cost of 27.98 crore INR in Chunar in the Mirzapur district.
- Ganga Monitoring Centres, to check the pollution levels and monitor the cleanliness of the river, will be established in 5 Ganga states at an estimated cost of 46.69 Crore INR.
- Two pilot projects for treatment of drains using bioremediation method have also been approved for Danapur drain in Patna and Nehru Drain in Allahabad at an estimated cost of 1.63 crore INR.
A Standing Committee on Water Resources has noted “with utmost concern” that so far only four sewage treatment plant (STP) projects have been taken up under the Clean Ganga Project till now and feels that targeted completion of cleaning of Ganga river by December 2020 may remain unaccomplished.