Will Rs 4,100 crore help clean up the Ganga?

Clean Ganga mission approves projects worth Rs 1,900 crore for the creation of sewage treatment infrastructure in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Delhi

GN Bureau | June 6, 2017


#Ganga   #pollution   #rejuvenating Ganga   #Uma Bharti   #water resources   #National Mission for Clean Ganga  


In the past three months projects worth Rs 4,100 crore have received the green signal as part of the effort to clean the Ganga. But, will it yield the desired result?
 
The latest push saw Namai Gange programme National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) approving projects worth Rs 1,900 crore for the creation of sewage treatment infrastructure in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Delhi.
 
With approval of these projects, hundred percent sewage treatment facilities will be made available for Haridwar, Rishikesh, Vrindavan, Varanasi, Allahabad and Delhi. These projects were approved in the third meeting of the executive committee of NMCG held in New Delhi last month.
 
 
Three projects of sewage treatment infrastructure were approved for Pahari sewage zone in Patna including construction of a 60 MLD STP and laying of sewerage lines at an estimated cost of about Rs 744 crore. With these approvals, Patna will now have a sewage treatment capacity of 200 MLD.
 
In Delhi, construction of as many as seven STPs of total capacity of 94 MLD in Najafgarh area have been approved at an estimated cost of Rs 344.81 crore under ‘Maily Se Nirmal Yamuna’ project. Najafgarh drain contributes around 70 percent of the total discharge of the city into river Yamuna that includes a lot of untreated sewage.
 
The estimates to cleaning up the Ganga have been varying widely. In 2014, union minister Nitin Gadkari had put an estimate of Rs 80,000 crore. Two years later, Gadkari said that the cleaning cost had been brought down Rs 20,000 crore. But, there was a catch. In February 2016, he pegged the original clean-up cost at Rs 60,000 crore and not Rs 80,000 crore. 
 
Cleaning up the Ganga is an uphill task. Despite several attempts in the past, including some seers pouring milk into the river, there has been no noticeable improvement in its state.
 
Report after report has sought clear cut policies to clean up the river that is considered holy by millions.
 
Restoring life to the Ganga is not rocket science, said an exhaustive report on the river Ganga by The Third Pole. It added “what it needs is political will, a consequent enabling policy framework, and implementation”.
 
For months, Uma Bharti, union minister for water resources, has been complaining of non-cooperation from the governments of these two states. She can no longer do so. It is time for her to deliver on her promise to have a clean Ganga flowing by the end of 2018, said the report ‘Ganga: An unholy mess’. 
 
Uma Bharti is currently on a three week Ganga Nirikshan Abhiyan from Gangasagar to Gangotri to monitor the progress of Namami Gange programme. The minister has reached Narora in UP and will proceed to Haridwar on Monday via Bhrigu Ashram and Najibabad.
 
It is now up to her to ensure that Rs 4,100 crore worth of projects that has been sanctioned are executed properly. Otherwise, hard earned tax payers’ money will go down the drain.
 

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