The River Ganga is a pious river of India. The River Ganga is not only imperative for its cultural and spiritual implication but also for the reason that it anchors more than 40% population of India. In the Year 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had addressed the Indian Community at Madison Square Garden in New York, he quoted that, “If we are able to clean it, it will be a huge help for the 40 per cent population of the country. So, cleaning the Ganges is also an economic agenda.”
After that the government of India had launched an Integrated Ganga Conservation Mission called as “Namami Gange” in order to apprehend the pollution of Ganga River and revive the River. The Centre had proposed an action plan to spend rupees 20.000 crore till year 2019-2020 for cleaning the Ganga River, which was approved by the Union Cabinet. Then the budget was increased by four-folds with 100% central share – a central sector scheme.
The execution of this program has been divided different kind of activity levels, entry-level activities for immediate and visible impact, medium term activities for implementation within 5 years of time and long term activities to be implemented within 10 year of time frame.
Entry level activities: This activity includes cleaning of the river surface to remove the floating solid wastes, rural sanitization to stop the pollution whether in solid or liquid form from entering the river through sewage drains by constructing of toilets, renovation, repair, modernization and construction of crematoria that prevents the disposal of un-burnt or partially burnt bodies in the river, modernization and construction of Ghats so as to improve the human-river contact.
Medium-term activities: Main focus of this activity is striking the pollution caused by municipal and industrial sectors from entering into the river. To remove the pollution through municipal sewage, 2500 MLD additional treatment capacity is to be created in next 5 years. Foremost to make this program efficient, accountable and sustainable for a longer period, major financial reforms are in progress.
Long-term activities: Long term activity purposes at providing adequate flow of the river. It is visualized through fortitude of e-flow, amplified water efficiency and enriched efficiency of the surface irrigation.
Efforts have been made to manage the industrial pollution by creating the compliance by the way of better implementation. The highly polluted industries that are located alongside of river Ganga have been commanded to reduce the quality and quantity of the sewage or to implement zero-liquid discharge. For putting these guidelines into practice, an action plan has been constructed by the Pollution Control Boards and where the timelines has been allocated for each categories of the industries with comprehensive sessions. It is advised to all the industries to install a real-time on-line emission monitoring stations.
It is true that cleaning the River Ganga is extremely complex because of its socio-economic and cultural significance. In this world, no such complex program has been introduced or implemented as it requires participation of each and every citizen of all the sectors of the country.
Along with these activities pertaining to the industries and pollution, afforestation, biodiversity conversation and monitoring the quality of water are also the responsibilities that has been taken up by the government under this program. A programme has already been initiated for conservation of the iconic species such as Dolphins, Turtles, Golden Mahaseer, Ghariyals, Otters etc. Similarly, 30.000 hectares of land will be afforested for reduction of soil erosion, for increasing the recharge of aquifers, and for improving the health of river ecosystem. The programme for afforestation had begun in the year 2016. Total number of 113 real time water quality monitoring stations have been installed for comprehensive monitoring of quality of water.
Key features of Namami Gange Project
• This is an integrated project that will serve the population of India, as it is dependent on rivers.
• There are many industries sited around the river Ganga which discharge their waste into the river either intentionally or unintentionally making it polluted. To avoid the river being furthermore polluted, under this project the government has identified 48 such industries and have asked them to close down.
• And beautification of the River Fronts at Kedarnath, Delhi, Varanasi, Haridwar, Allahbad, Kanour, and Patna.
• Initially the project had been allotted a total budget of rupees 2037 crore.
• This project is set to be completed in the year 2020.
• This scheme covers about 47 towns in 8 states of the country.
• This not the first project to clean Ganga, the previous governments had also introduced many such projects for cleaning of the river but could not perform expectedly. Namami Gange by Modi government has strict rules.
Benefits of Namami Gange Project
• This project will provide employment for various local people who reside on the bank of the river Ganga.
• With the introduction of Namami Gange project, health of the people will not suffer due to the pollution related to water.
• There will be a difference in the lively hood of the people whose existence depends on this river.
• The Namami Gange project and Swachh Braharat Abhiyan will work hand in hand.
How is the Government planning to control water pollution?
• The government will treat the waste water by applying bio-remediation technique. By doing this, the functioning of the industries will not stop and likewise they will not pollute the water resources.
• The government plans to adopt and follow the PPP approach in order to control the pollution.
• As a part of this project for treating the water beforehand, the governments will also introduce various municipal sewages.
• A 4-nattalion task force named Territorial Army Ganga Eco-Task force will be introduced as a part of Namami Gange project.
• Suppose if the sewage water inflows into the river, provisions will be made by the government to stop it before it gets into the river.
Prime Minister quoted that this project not only focuses on cleaning the river but it will also provide with regular maintenance to see the rivers progress, once the river is clean. And actions will be taken so that the river is not furthermore polluted in future.