As part of efforts towards Ganga rejuvenation, a task top on Centre's priority, the government is making strides towards developing a sewage infrastructure by implementing 115 treatment projects in seven states at an estimated cost of Rs 18,000 crore, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said Sunday.
This apart, massive projects for river front development and boosting cargo transportation by developing the National Waterways 1 on Ganga are also on, Gadkari said.
"To make Ganga 'nirmal' and 'aviral', government is making strides and as part of the drive is implementing 115 sewage treatment projects in Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Haryana and Delhi at a cost of Rs 17,876.69 crore," the transport, river development and Ganga rejuvenation minister, Gadkari, told PTI in an interview.
He said these 115 projects for sewage infrastructure are part of 240 projects for overall development of the river.
Of these, 27 have been completed and work in 42 is in progress while 7 projects have already been allotted, the minister said.
Tenders have been out for 34 others, the minister said adding that of the total projects a maximum 31 are in Uttarakhand, followed by 32 in Uttar Pradesh, 20 in Bihar, 16 in West Bengal, 12 in Delhi and 2 each in Jharkhand and Haryana.
Cleaning works would start getting remarkably noticeable in another six months, the minister said claiming that "transforming the river that was the distinct cultural identify of the nation was close to his heart".
Not only "we are implementing new projects" but a review of the 84 old sewage treatment plants (STPs) revealed that 39 are working fine but the rest need upgradation and upgradation work was on in 14 projects while 12 have been sanctioned for the same.
Enunciating the work for sewage infrastructure, the minister said: "Massive initiatives have resulted in rich dividends and we have successfully created capacity to treat 1,700 MLD sewage."
The cities located by the side of the river produce 2,950 MLD seage and if steps to purify the water were not taken this in another 15 years will reach 3,600 MLD.
He said there were 97 cities, which were polluting the river with 10 including Haridwar, Kanpur, Allhabad, Varanasi, Patna, Bhagalpur and Kolkata contriubting 65 per cent of the pollution in the river.
Besides, Gadkari said 48 new cities have been identified on the side of Ganga and its tributaries for projects to clean Ganga.
"Detailed project reports (DPRs) for these are likely by October as all such states have been asked to preparte the DPRs," he said.
The government had in May, 2015 approved Rs 20,000 crore under its ambitious 'Namami Gange' - integrated Ganga integrated Ganga conservation mission - programme for five years.
The minister said massive preparations were also on for commencement of cargo operations in Ganga.