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Eighty per cent Ganga clean-up expected by March 2019: Gadkari

New Delhi : Presenting yet another report card on the ongoing Namami Gange programme, Union Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Minister Nitin Gadkari has expressed hope that as much as 70 to 80 per cent of the Ganga River would get cleaned up by March 2019.

The Union Government had launched Namami Gange as an integrated Ganga conservation mission with the aim to integrate previous, currently ongoing and new projects. The programme was given a Rs 20,000 crore budget and is to be implemented over a five-year period ending in December 2020.

“We hope to clean 70 to 80 per cent Ganga by March 2019. It is a general perception that nothing significant is being done under Namami Gange programme but this is not correct. So far, 251 gross polluting industries (GPI) have been closed and closure directions have been issued to non-complying GPIs\", said Gadkari at a press briefing.

Real time monitoring of pollution is being done in 938 industries. Also, 211 main \'nallas’ have been identified, which are causing pollution in Ganga and 20 modular STPs are being deployed to treat nalla water.

Gadkari said regular review meetings with all the states government officials, contractors and consultants are being done and obstacles regarding DPRs, tendering process, finalisation of design, payment to contractors are being removed for speedy completion of projects.

Under the programme, 195 projects have been sanctioned for various activities such as sewage infrastructure, ghats and crematoria development, river front development, river surface cleaning, institutional development, biodiversity conservation, afforestation, rural sanitation, and public participation.

Of the 195 project, 102 were sanctioned for creation of new sewage treatment plants (STPs) with capacity of 2369 million litre per day (MLD), rehabilitation of 887 MLD of existing STPs and laying and rehabilitation of 4722 km sewer network for abatement of pollution in Ganga and Yamuna.

So far, 24 STP projects have been completed with creation of 217 MLD capacity while rehabilitation of 62 MLD capacity and 1879.5 km of sewer network has been carried out. As many as 45 sewage infrastructure projects are under execution and these projects envisage creation of 841 MLD sewage treatment capacities.

According to the Water Resources Ministry, another 33 projects are under various stages of tendering.

During the past one year, work on two STP projects (50 MLD in Varanasi and 82 MLD in Haridwar) has been started under hybrid annuity based PPP model (HAM). Other projects sanctioned under HAM are Naini, Jhusi, Phaphamau, Unnao, Shuklaganj, Mathura, Kanpur, Mirzapur, Gazipur and Farrukhabad in Uttar Pradesh; Digha, Kankarbagh and Bhagalpur in Bihar; Howrah, Bally and Tolly’s Nalla (Kolkata), Kamarhati and Baranagar in West Bengal.

These sewage management projects will take care of the current gap in sewage treatment and will also sustain the sewage treatment for future, said Gadkari.

The Ministry said among some of the new initiatives taken up by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) are \'One City One Operator\' scheme, under which STPs in seven towns - Kanpur, Allahabad, Mathura, Patna, Kolkata, Howrah-Bally, Bhagalpur - are being integrated and tendered with hybrid annuity-based projects. Four have already been tendered at Kanpur, Allahabad, Mathura and Kolkata.

The focus under Namami Gange programme has been on 10 major towns contributing almost 64 per cent of total sewage discharge.

Apart from that, performance evaluation of existing STPs have been completed in Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and project engineers for Haridwar and Varanasi projects have been appointed.

Also, annual inspection of GPIs through technical institutions in a time bound manner along with close monitoring of milestones is being done.

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