PUNE: Union minister Prakash Javadekar Sunday said the Rs 990-crore worth project that aims to reduce the pollution of Mula-Mutha river in Pune has been fast-tracked.
Javadekar, who is the Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change, was speaking after conducting a review of the 'Project for Pollution Abatement of River Mula Mutha in Pune'.
Officials of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), forest department and consultants related to the project were present for the review meeting.
"The dream of Pune city is going to be fulfilled soon as the Rs 990-crore project, which aims to reduce the pollution of Mula-Mutha river, has now been fast-tracked," the minister said.
Seventy per cent of the first package work of the project in Baner (a suburb in Pune) has been completed and clearance for four packages (involving the construction of Sewage Treatment Plants) will be given in few days, he said.
"Once the approval is given, foundation stones will be laid for these four packages in the next two months," Javadekar added.
Pune lies at the confluence of Mula and Mutha rivers.
It is among the 35 polluted river stretches in the country, classified as Priority 1 (the highest risk category) by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
The major reasons for pollution of Mula-Mutha are discharge of untreated domestic waste-water into the river due to inadequate sewerage system (including pumping stations) and sewage treatment capacity in the town, as well as open defecation on the river banks.
"All the agencies have met and decided the project timeline," the minister said, adding that he would undertake follow-up of the project activities every month.
"All the agencies will work in tandem and make sure that there are no obstacles," he added.
The minister made it clear that it is a joint project of the Centre and the PMC for cleaning of Mula-Mutha river under the National River Conservation Plan, and not of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), as it is believed to be.
"JICA is the bank which is providing the finances, but the project is that of the government of India and the PMC, he said.
Major components proposed under the project include construction of eleven new Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs), laying of 113.6 km of sewer lines for collection of untapped sewage and renovation/rehabilitation of four existing intermediate pumping stations.
These measures will increase the sewage treatment capacity of Pune from 477 MLD to 873 MLD, enabling the city to cater to its sewage treatment requirements till the year 2027.
Noting that the loan given by JICA will be repaid neither by the Maharashtra government nor by the PMC but by the Centre, Javadekar said the project was a "gift" of the Narendra Modi government to Pune.
He said the project was pending for ten years from 2004, and clearance was given to it when he took over as the Environment minister in 2014.