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It’s race against time for Namami Gange project in Uttarakhand

The 23 underconstruction sewage treatment plants (STPs) in the towns along the Ganga river in Uttarakhand are unlikely to be completed anytime near due to the sluggish pace of work

dehradun Updated: Jan 21, 2018 21:44 IST
Anupam Trivedi
Anupam Trivedi
Hindustan Times, Dehradun
Namami Gange,sewage treatment plants,Prakash Pant
The Namami Gange project was launched with a sanctioned budget of Rs 20,000 crore in 2014.(HT Files)

The 23 underconstruction sewage treatment plants (STPs) in the towns along the Ganga river in Uttarakhand are unlikely to be completed anytime near due to the sluggish pace of work.

The Prime Minister’s ambitious Namami Gange programme was launched in 2014 with a sanctioned budget of Rs 20,000 crore. The first phase is expected to complete in five years. With more than 36 months already gone, both central and state governments are concerned as the general election is due next year.

Union water resources and Ganga rejuvenation minister Nitin Gadkari was in Dehradun earlier this month and asked officials to accelerate the pace of work. “Officials have assured that most of the STPs will be operational by this year,” Gadkari had said after reviewing the Namami Gange project on January 9.

Water resources minister Prakash Pant asserted the gaps will be filled within time.

The Ganga originates at the Gaumukh in the state. The main stem of river flows in Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal. For decades, the towns located along the Ganga banks have been discharging sewage directly into the river.

It was Jagmohan, tourism minister in the Atal Bihar Vajpayee-led NDA government, who in 2004 floated the idea of sewage treatment plants for towns in Uttarakhand . A decade has passed since then but the towns are yet to get the sewage treatment plants.

According to government data, out of 28 STPs coming up in the Ganga basin, 23 are new while 5 will be upgraded. The new STPs will have a capacity to treat 6.47 million litre day (MLD) of effluents whereas the upgraded STPs, including two in Haridwar and one in Rishikesh, come with a capacity of 53.5 MLD.

A report shows the official machinery has so far submitted a preliminary drawing for 21 STPs in Rudraprayag, Karnaprayag, Nandprayag, Badrinath and Gopeshwar. What is interesting to note that the work for most of the STPs begun October onwards last year. It means the actual work in these projects will take more than the five-year period. A sum of Rs 273 crore was sanctioned for the 28 STPs and, so far, officials have utilised Rs 12 crore.

“It’s a sad situation. So much talk on the Ganga and its rejuvenation, and so little on the ground,” environmentalist Anil Joshi said.

First Published: Jan 21, 2018 21:43 IST