By KN Pathak
Before the advent of the tiol Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), Ganga, the most revered and tiol river of India, was facing the challenge to its existence due to discharge of increasing quantities of sewage, trade effluents and other pollutants on account of rapid urbanization and industrialization. The stretch of Ganga covers a length of 2,525 kms across five states mely Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal. It has a catchment area of 8,61,404 square km covering over a quarter of country’s land area and sustaining 46% of the total population of the country. It touches 118 towns and 1,657 gram panchayats across 66 districts of 5 states of India.
The tiol Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), created in June, 2014, is being supported by State level Programme Magement Groups (SPMGs) of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Jharkhand and west Bengal. The main activities undertaken under mami Gange include sewage and effluent magement including creation of new and rehabilitation of existing STPs, complete sanitation coverage of gram panchayats, development of model cremation/dhobi ghats, development of decision support system in GIS platform for efficient planning and monitoring and creation of an IT based monitoring centre with capabilities of real time alerts and prediction.
For long term protection and rejuvetion, a provision has been made for 100% funding for the entire life time cost of the treatment of assets created including O&M cost for 10 years. Due importance has also been accorded to bio diversity, conservation, maintence of flow in the river and afforestation along river side with medicil and tive plant species along with conservation of aquatic species.
The expenditure incurred on mami Gange in the first three years, (i.e. 2014-2015 to 2016-17) is Rs 3,673 crore. For the current year (2017-18), an amount of Rs 2,300 crore has been allocated in the budget. It is however, observed that the pace of utilization of fund under this programme has not been satisfactory. The slow implementation of project is attributed to delay in tendering, retendering, non-availability of land, legal issues, tural calamities, delay in permission for road cutting, crossing, local festivals, higher fund requirement and pending approvals of state cabinet etc.
Regular monitoring meeting of NMCG with concerned state is expected to help in expediting the pace of the projects implementation and elimiting bottlenecks in making land available and clear the projects through tendering.
The key principles identified for the Authority are:
1) Maintaining the continuity of the flow without altering the tural season variations.
2) Restoring and maintaining the integral relationship between the surface flow and sub-surface water (ground water).
3) Restoration and maintence of the property and quality of water in time bound manner.
4) Regenerating and maintaining the lost tural vegetation in catchment area.
5) Regeneration and conservation of the aquatic and riparian biodiversity in river Ganga basin.
6) To keep the bank of river Ganga and its floodplains as construction free zone to reduce pollution sources and maintain its tural ground water recharge functions.
7) Making public participation as integral part of process of rejuvetion, protection and magement of the river.
River surface cleaning work has been undertaken in major cities on the bank of River Ganga in collaboration with corporate bodies and public sector undertakings. Under rural sanitation programme, NMCG has provided Rs 263 crore to Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation for construction of toilets. About 11 lakh toilets have been constructed so far. For renovation/modernization and construction of crematoria based on standard design, initially, 20-25 urban local bodies (ULBs) are being taken up with the target of developing 100 crematoria in a year’s time.
River front/ghat development work has been taken up in 7 towns of Kedarth, Haridwar, Delhi, Allahabad, Kanpur, Varasi & Pat in addition to repair and modernization of existing ghats. Real time effluent monitoring stations have been installed in 508 out of 764 grossly polluting industries of distillery, pulp and paper; tanneries; textile and sugar. Regarding zero liquid discharge, action plan has been under implementation for distilleries since the last quarter of 2016.
Biodiversity conservation is being implemented in association with Wildlife Institute of India to cover golden mahaseer, dolphins, crocodiles, turtles and otters etc under conservation programme. 30,000 Hectares of land is targeted to be covered under afforestation programme. For water quality monitoring, in addition to 57 manual monitoring stations, 113 real-time monitoring stations are being set up with display boards at selected locations. Steps are being taken for public outreach. Resource materials such as posters, flyers, brochures, pamphlets, hoardings etc. have been circulated/displayed among stake holders. For involvement of the public in monitoring of pollution entering into river Ganga, Bhuvan-Ganga Web App and mobile app have been launched. (PIB)