Tells Supreme Court the process will take more than 8 years and massive investment
New Delhi : After being admonished by the Supreme Court for its approach to clean Ganga, the Narendra Modi government has placed before it a blueprint of short, medium and long term measures that spread over 18 years and thousands of crore of investment to restore the glory of the holy river.
The NDA government submitted that it has identified 118 towns situated on bank of Ganga as a first target to achieve total sanitation including water waste treatment and solid waste management.
“It is respectfully submitted that in order to ensure rejuvenation of the Ganga, the action plan envisages phase wise timeline in terms of short term – a period of three years, medium term – a period of next five years and long term – a period of next ten years and more,” the affidavit, filed in the Supreme Court, said.
It said timeline for completion of ongoing projects has been prepared after consulting five Ganga basin states which are primarily responsible for implementation of projects for rejuvenation of the 2,500 km long Ganga.
“In the first stage, 118 towns have been tentatively identified for necessary interventions to achieve total sanitation targets including water waste treatment and solid waste management,” it said, adding that, “so far seven river front locations have been identified by Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation for development of Ghats at Kedarnath, Haridwar, Varanasi, Kanpur, Allahabad, Patna and Delhi”.
As a medium term goal, it said 118 urban habitations on bank of river Ganga have been tentatively identified by MoUD for extending coverage of sewerage infrastructure at the estimated cost of Rs.51,000 cr and also to make 1649 number of Gram Panchayat located on Ganga free from open defecation.
It said long term plan would emerge from the Ganga River Basin Management Plan being prepared by consortium of seven IITs for “restoring wholesomeness of river Ganga in terms of defining concept of ensuring Nirmal Dhara, Aviral Dhara and maintaining geological and ecological integrity of the river”.
The affidavit was filed in compliance of the apex court which directed the government to place blueprint of its project to clean the river. The government said that people from various walks of life including NRIs will have to get involved with teh project to make it successful.
Reminding Modi government that cleaning of Ganga was on its pre-poll promise, the apex court had asked why urgent steps are not being taken on it and had asked it come up with a road map for making the river pollution free. It had directed the Centre to come out with a “stage-wise plan” to clean the river for “restoring it to its pristine glory”.
The unchecked pollution of river Ganga has evoked sharp criticism by the apex court which has been hearing the case since 1985.
Earlier this month, Israel had also offered help to clean Ganga by sharing its expertise on water purification and waste water treatment.
The ambitious ‘Ganga Action Plan’ to clean the river was launched by the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1985.