LUCKNOW: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will cruise through the Ganga River in Kanpur on Saturday to review the 'Namami Gange' project and get a first hand experience of the impact of the programme on the holy river.
Twelve union ministers, nine secretaries of Central departments and chief ministers of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Bihar are scheduled to reach Kanpur, late on Friday, to participate in the first meeting of the National Ganga Council on Saturday.
Chief Ministers of two other Gangetic states, West Bengal and Jharkhand, may not attend the Saturday meet. While West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is yet to confirm her presence at the meeting, Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das is in the midst of Assembly elections.
During his visit, the Prime Minister is likely to announce a slew of measures under the 'Namami Gange' project, which has failed to make a visible change in the waters of the river in the past few years.
Apart from holding the Ganga Council meet in Kanpur, the Prime Minister's programme for a cruise on the river in Kanpur that is considered the most polluted stretch in its journey from Gaumukh to Gangasagar, is designed to send out a clear message that the government now means business on the issue.
Sources in the BJP said that the 'Namami Gange' project would now be a priority sector for the government after the clearing of decks for the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya.
Principal secretary, urban development, Manoj Kumar Singh, who visited Kanpur on Thursday along with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, said that all 16 drains discharging 300 MLD of effluents into the river in Kanpur have been permanently tapped from Thursday night.
Yogi Adityanath said that the closure of sewers and drains, which used to add pollutants in the rivers, was making a remarkable difference in the water body's condition.
"The Sisamau nullah which used to discharge 140 megaliters per day (MLD) of sewage waste in Ganga has been tapped by the officials and the waste has now been diverted to Jajamu and Bingawan treatment plants," he said.
The Chief Minister, in fact, turned the Sisamau 'nullah' into a 'selfie point' after the drain was tapped.
Meanwhile, a double-decker steamer for the Prime Minister's Ganga voyage has been brought from Varanasi for the occasion and all the Ghats in Kanpur are being gaily decorated for the occasion.