Govt to double sewage treatment capacity in 10 cities for Clean Ganga
The Centre plans to almost double the capacity of sewage treatment in 10 major cities that pollute the Ganga most, aiming to treat 100% waste and clean the country’s longest river.
The 10 cities are among the 97 places along the 10-15-km radius of the river that push sewage into Ganga.
“If we are able to manage the 10 big cities, Ganga will be much cleaner than what it already is,” said Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, director general, NMCG.
According to officials of National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), nearly 81% of the total sewage of 2,953 MLD (million litres per day) discharged daily into the Ganga comes from these cities.
While Kolkata, Kanpur, Patna and Varanasi top the list, they are closely followed by Allahabad, Howrah, Haridwar, Bhagalpur, Farrukhabad and Bally — discharging 2,392 MLD into the 2,525-km-long river.
The 10 cities, along with 87 towns, currently have sewage treatment plants that can treat 1,500 MLD, Mishra said.
The planned additional sewage treatment plants (STP) with a capacity of 1,525 MLD will help clean almost 100% of the sewage generated.
The new STPs have been put on fast track and the government has set a three-year deadline for achieving the target.
“In the 87 other towns — some will have STPs while localised treatment of sewage can be done near the drains in some areas,” the Mission DG said.
The 87 towns mostly fall in the Ganga main-stem states of Uttrakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal. A few projects have also been taken up in Delhi and Haryana.
Municipal pollution, according to officials in the Mission, contributes to 70% of the pollution in the river.
In a recent report prepared by the Mission, Kolkata tops the list with the contribution of 615 MLD of sewage into the river, followed by Kanpur at 457 MLD.
Although both the cities have an existing system of STPs with a potential of 589 MLDs and 414 MLD respectively, Mishra said the system remains under-utilised.
The STP in Patna, however, is not functional. While the city discharges around 320 MLD of waste into the river, an NMCG report showed that projects with cleaning capacity of 140 MLDs are ongoing and those with another 210 MLD capacity have been approved.
Farrukhabad and Bhagalpur do not have STPs.
“We are trying to make the system of existing STPs fully functional and have also approved setting up of the new STPs wherever there is a gap,” said Mishra.
A clean Ganga is one of the flagship projects of the Narendra Modi government. A promise of clean Ganga was part of the 2014 election manifesto.
Untreated sewage flows into the entire 2,525-km-long river, which, according to government reports, is source of water for 43% of India’s population.
Government has earmarked a budget of Rs 12,728 crore for the Mission’s new initiatives, the majority which is — approximately 8,000 — has been sanctioned for sewage treatment.
Besides sewage infrastructure, the government will also focus on other factors, including sanitation, solid waste management, afforestation, ghat cleaning, river front and surface cleaning. “Only treating sewage will not help. The cities have to be clean to keep Ganga clean,” Mishra added.