On the lines of the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) for cleaning River Ganga, the Union
Jal Shakti ministry is in discussion to adopt a basin approach for cleaning and management of five
other rivers in the country, said Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, Director General, NMCG.
He talks about the progress of Ganga cleaning with Prabhu Chawla, Editorial Director, The New Indian Express, and senior journalist Kaveri Bamzai on TNIE’s Expressions, a series of live webcasts with prominent people.
How do you coordinate with multiple authorities in states?
We have delegated work through state missions and there are district level authorities headed by district magistrates. Besides, because of financial stability we have made administrative changes. There are several committees at various levels to rope in everyone. We are doing urban planning for river cities and for the first time, we are doing Ganga mapping with the help of the Surveyor General of India.
There are several polluted rivers. What model do we plan to adopt for cleaning them?
We are discussing if a similar (NMCG) model can be implemented for five rivers — Godavari, Cauvery, Narmada, Periyar and Mahanadi — and will go to the Union Cabinet for approval (once consensus is achieved).
For the Ganga Action Plan and the Yamuna Action Plan, our annual project used to be Rs 200 crore, but if you have focus on just, say, Kanpur, you will need Rs 2,000 crore alone. Under, Namami Gange we got assured Rs 20,000 crore non-lapsable fund for river cleaning.
Why slow progress in Ganga cleaning work (Sewage Treatment Plant) in Bihar?
Our approach is not just to focus on STP construction but on their operation. Keeping that in mind, we did condition assessment of all STPs. As far as Bihar is concerned, we found that under the Ganga Action Plan, no STP was constructed. In Bihar, work is happening for the first time under Namami Gange.
Today 650 mld capacity STPs are sanctioned under Namami Gange. In Patna, STPs and sewer network is being laid for the first time under Namami Gange. Under the Ganga Action Plan, much work did not happen in Bihar and that is why there is less number of completed projects in Bihar as the work only started in 2017-18.