NEW DELHI: Union Water Resources Ministry today made a strong pitch to ensure minimum ecological flow to rejuvenate Ganga and batted for larger public participation in Centre's mission for the cause.
"There is a need for minimum ecological flow. Rejuvenating the river will be difficult otherwise. All amphibians can survive only if there is unfettered flow from the dams.
"Silt movement can occur if flow is unfettered. If the flow is stopped at places, it will create sand islands like it has happened near Haridwar," Union Water Resources secretary Shashi Shekhar said.
He made the remarks while replying to a query in connection with a Supreme Court matter pertaining to dam construction on river.
The Ministry has been of the view that it will not allow dam construction on any river if its ecological flow is found to be less than 1,000 cusecs.
Speaking ahead of 'Swachh Ganga-Gramin Sahbhagita', a national-level stakeholder consultation to be held here tomorrow, Shekhar said the government will discuss water management and sewage disposal ideas with village heads during the conference.
"Until now the urban areas were under focus (in Ganga cleaning programmes). But we realised, villages located along the river contribute sewage waste to the extent of 10,000 litres to 50,000 litres per day into the river. Hence, we are targeting villages too now," he said.
Over 1,600 panchayat heads have been invited for the conference, which will be attended by senior Union Ministers including Uma Bharti, Nitin Gadkari and Smriti Irani among others. Besides, Chief Ministers of Uttarakhand and Jharkhand are expected to attend the session.
"The Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) wants us to reach out to people, involve big celebrities in the programme. There is Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Amitabh Bachchan and Ratan Tata," Shekhar added.
Shekhar said that as part of the Centre's efforts to bring down level of industrial pollutants in Ganga, especially that emanating from tanneries in Uttar Pradesh, it may install common effluent treatment plant (CETP) of 18-20 million litres daily (MLD) capacity in Kanpur's Jajmau.
"In such a case, industries will have to take care of operation and maintenance cost of the plant. We will issue tender for it around April," he said.
On installation of STPs in municipalities and towns located along the river, he said the government plans to engage private players to operate such plants.
"We are engaging private players. We will supervise their work and pay them only if they perform as desired. We are preparing feasibility studies, we are working towards issuing 20-25 tenders for this purpose in April," he added.
The official also informed that the ministry plans to organise a market conference to discuss the Clean Ganga project with banks and private players next month.
Ganga Vichar Manch, a portal created with the aim of initiating interactive dialogues among various stakeholders of the revered river, will also be launched during the convention, the ministry said in a statement.
"The programme will also feature signing of MoUs with various ministries of the government," the statement reads.