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MoEF picks up Ganga cause

PM-elect Narendra Modi is yet to take Oath of Office but the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has already started making efforts to bring his promises to fruition. The National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA), functioning under the MoEF, has called a meeting of its members to review the status of projects undertaken so […]

Written by Lalmani Verma | Lucknow | May 22, 2014 4:09:03 am
A woman takes a holy dip in the Ganges. (Source: Express photo by Apurva Singh) A woman takes a holy dip in the Ganges. (Source: Express photo by Apurva Singh)

PM-elect Narendra Modi is yet to take Oath of Office but the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has already started making efforts to bring his promises to fruition.

The National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA), functioning under the MoEF, has called a meeting of its members to review the status of projects undertaken so far for the cleaning of Ganga river in Varanasi.

The meeting will be held in New Delhi on Friday, three days before Modi takes the oath as Prime Minister. NGRBA Mission Director R R Mishra will head the meeting, which will also be attended by Dr B D Tripathi, Coordinator, Centre for Environmental Science and Technology, BHU, Varanasi.

“The meeting has been called to discuss the progress of projects under Mission Clean Ganga of NGRBA. Along with the works done so far, the draft plan of other projects will also be discussed,” Dr Tripathi said. Sources said the NGRBA expects that its to-be ex-officio chairperson (Modi) will soon hold a meeting with it.

Even after spending nearly Rs 100 crore under the Mission that comprised laying sewer lines in Varanasi, the results have not been promising, largely because of the nearly 200 million litres per day (MLD) discharge of untreated sewage into the river, which, explains Dr Tripathi, is due to not having enough sewage treatment plants (STPs). The city generates a total of 300 million litres of sewage every day with only one STP (of a capacity of 102 MLD) to treat it.

The results could have been better had there been a better “coordination” between the Ministry of Urban Development (which has its own mission — Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission — working towards the cause) and the MoEF, he said.
NGRBA, formed in 2009 under the chairmanship of outgoing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with Chief Ministers of five states — UP, Bihar, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand and West Bengal — being its other members. has only held three meetings in the last five years, the latest being on April 17, 2012.

The UPA government had taken Kanpur, Allahabad and Varanasi on priority as the river is most polluted in these cities. It has already approved a Rs 496-crore project for Varanasi and another Rs 305-crore project for Allahabad. A 140-MLD STP was also approved for Varanasi.

An UP Jal Nigam official said work on two STPs of 120 MLD and 102 MLD is under progress with another (of 37 MLD) being proposed by the Sankat Mochan Foundation.

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