The Maharashtra cabinet on Tuesday gave its go-ahead for the Mula-Mutha national river linking project in Pune, worth Rs 990. 26 crore, to tackle the menace of river pollution. The fund, procured from the Centre, would be released by the Pune Municipal Corporation. The administrative approval for the same has been given by the state cabinet, chaired by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
The move is part of a joint mission by the Centre and the state to put an end to river pollution across Maharashtra. The Ministry of Environment and Forest is the nodal department that will take up the project. The main objective of the project is to stop river pollution caused by the presence of untreated sewage in the river.
While the Centre will bear 85 per cent of the cost, amounting to Rs 841.72 crore, the Pune Municipal Corporation will bear 15 per cent of the cost — Rs 148.54 crore. The Centre has sought the funds from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for the Mula-Mutha project.
“Almost 90 per cent of river pollution is due to untreated sewage released in the water,” said Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. Emphasising that the issue would have to be dealt with firmly, he said, “The Centre and the state have taken up the task of cleaning the river on top priority.” While the state government would facilitate the release of funds from the Centre, stakeholders of the project felt that local bodies could also contribute additional funds, to alleviate the burden of the state government.
The project — scheduled to be completed by January 31, 2022 — will also include setting up a botanical garden, fisheries centre and sulabh toilets.
Officials from the state government and the PMC, as well as from the Centre, would frequently review the progress of the project and also ensure that the guidelines are strictly adhered to.