While entry-level activities relating to the ambitious ‘Namami Gange’ programme are already underway, execution of the comprehensive action plan aimed at freeing the river of waste and ensuring its unfettered flow is expected to be launched around May 15.
The Water Resources Ministry, which is executing theambitious programme, may also invite Modi for an event to be held in October this year to mark the completion of the first leg of the cleaning operation.
“Entry-level activities are already underway at many places along the river. But implementation of the comprehensive action plan will take off sometime around May 15. The Government intends to clean the river by July 2018,” the source said.
Sources said, Central Public Sector Undertakings (CPSUs) roped in for “condition assessment” of existinginfrastructure, including ghats along the Ganga and their capacity utilisation, have completed their studies.
Engineers India Ltd (EIL), National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC), WAPCOS Ltd, National Projects Construction Corporation Ltd (NPCC) and Engineering Projects India Ltd are the CPSUs the Government has engaged for the purpose.
They said the CPSUs will begin surface cleaning of Ganga’s mainstream post-monsoon and that the effect of phase I activities under the project will become visible in October this year.
“If we clean the river surface now, it will become dirtier again during monsoon. So, it is advisable we begin the work post-monsoon so we need not repeat the work while the surface is cleared,” they said.
The tendering process to set up sewage treatment plants (STPs), a medium-term activity under the project, in 118 towns along the Ganga will take “some time” to be completed, sources said. The actual construction of the plants would take about a year after the tendering process has been completed.
“It is a huge work. So, we want such bidders to come forward who will deliver quality job, who are worried about their image,” the sources said.
They said the government is seeking international cooperation too even as it has urged villagers staying along the river to contribute to the cause.
“Recently, we entered into an agreement with a German Government agency to integrate various approaches in the implementation of the programme by providing support at national and state-level, particularly for Uttarakhand,” they said.
Under the agreement, the two parties will exchange technical knowledge, information management and public outreach and communication.
The Water Resources Ministry has divided the entire 2525 km length of Ganga into five stretches, coinciding with boundaries of as many states — Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal — through which the river flows, and allocated the portions to the CPSUs for execution of entry-level activities.
The entry-level activities include works such as repair, modernisation and provision of public amenities at ghats, treatment of directly discharging drains in villages along the river and repair, renovation and construction of crematoria.
Deploying improvised wood-based cremation platforms, advanced trash skimming machines for removal of floating solid wastes, bio-toilets and bioremediation based sewage treatment in rural areas are also part of the activities.