Seven IITs have joined hands to prepare a comprehensive basin management plan for revival of the Ganga, a proposal which has already been approved by the Central government.
The Rs 18-crore plan is being prepared for the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) which is headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and includes chief ministers of the states through which the river flows, besides the Union Ministers and officials concerned.
"It was my personal initiative (to rope in IITs) that germinated during an interaction I had with the heads of all environmental engineering departments of IITs at IIT-Mumbai in March," Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said.
The Rs 18 crore project plan which will outline comprehensive measures for restoration of the Ganga with regard to the issue of competing water uses in the river basin will be completed within 12-18 months.
"I expect that the project will build human resources in this area in the IITs. The next generation of water resources experts should be developed through this project. That is why I preferred going to the IIT consortium rather than to a consulting company which was the original plan," Ramesh said.
The seven IITs -- Kharagpur, Madras, Roorkee, Guwahati, Delhi, Kanpur and Mumbai -- will have an ongoing association with Mission Clean Ganga which aims at ensuring that no untreated sewage enters the river by the year 2020.
"The mission will be led by our institute while its activities will be overseen by Mission Management Board chaired by the Director IIT-Mumbai," said IIT-Kanpur director Sanjay G Dhande.
The work on preparation of the plan will be done in a mission mode following the broad guidelines of Technology Development Mission supported by the government.
The work would broadly be undertaken by many thematic groups each involving various tasks such as preparation of geo-spatial database management, water resources engineering, fluvial geomorphology (effective stream channel management) and socio-cultural aspects.
Capacity building and public participation, simulation processes and decision making, economic aspects, project planning and financing and environmental science and engineering will be other highlights of the plan.
The focus of the plan would be on maintenance and restoration of Ganga system and improvement of its ecological health, the IIT director said.
This entails preparation of a plan that has adequate provision for water and energy in Ganga basin to accommodate increased population, urbanisation, industrialisation and agriculture while ensuring that the fundamental aspects of the river system remain unaffected, he added.