- Uttar Pradesh and Bihar each to get three new STPs
- 58 STP projects have been sanctioned under Namami Gange
- It will take an estimated time of 10 years to clean the Ganga
The state of river Ganga is dire and dangerous, with issues of pollution plaguing it for more than four decades now. With the launch of the Namami Gange programme in 2014 and the beginning of its functioning in 2015, the Union government has started working comprehensively to address the issue of eradicating pollution from the river. Construction of sewage treatment plants (STP) is one of the programme’s primary prerogatives and has been continuously stressed on by the Ministry of Water Resources as STP construction would eventually stem the flow of untreated sewage in the river. In the fourth meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Mission For Clean Ganga (NMCG), seven projects worth Rs 425 crore were sanctioned. The amount would be spent on development of sewage infrastructure, ghats and research.
Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have been given priority for the development of sewage projects. Uttar Pradesh has 73 STPs of which 62 are operational. The planned STPs sanctioned by the NMCG in Uttar Pradesh will intercept the sewage, divert it to the STPs and treat it before they are disposed into the river. The regions of Unnao, Shuklaganj and Ramnagar have been identified where the STP projects will be undertaken. A total capacity of 29 million litres daily (MLD) will be created for sewage treatment, with Unnao having a capacity of 13 MLD, Shuklaganj of 6 MLD and Ramnagar of 10 MLD. The total cost of the project will be Rs 238.64 crore. Recently, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) adjudged that 100 metres from the edge of Ganga in the stretch of Haridwar to Unnao to be a “no-development zone.”
In Bihar, three projects at Sultanganj, Naugachia and Mokama have been approved. The total cost for the projects has been estimated to be Rs 175 crore and create an additional sewage treatment of 27 MLD. Bihar, which just has 6 STPs, has long faced the issue of much of its untreated sewage getting directly disposed into the river, particularly in the cities of Patna and Bhagalpur. In June 2017, the Union Minister for Water Resources Uma Bharti had assured Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of cleaning the Ganga in Bihar and taking every possible step to eradicate pollution from the river.
All the six STP projects will follow Namami Gange’s funding pattern of providing operation and maintenance cost for fifteen years following the completion of construction. A public private partnership (PPP) model would be followed for the projects at Unnao and Sultanganj, where 60 per cent of the construction cost would be paid to the private contractor constructing the STP, based on the plant’s performance.
The projects will address the STP related issues for the two most problematic states on the Ganga basin. We have sanctioned the projects to ensure that all forms of assistance are provided to set up STPs in these two states. STP creation and maintenance would address the issue of Ganga pollution and aid in the cleaning up of the river in the coming days, said Samir Sinha, Spokesperson, Ministry of Water Resources.
The meeting also saw the NMCG approving a research study to understand the non-putrefying properties of the river water. Approved at an estimated cost of Rs 4.96 crore, the study will be an extension of the ongoing research being carried out by the National Environment Engineering Research Institute (NEERI). A similar research is being carried out by the institute in studying the level of silt in the river and how the amount of silt could be reduced to increase the river’s water levels.