New technology for river Ganga cleaning projects

On 6 August, the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation released a press statement outlining the new, state-of-the-art technology being implemented in the National Mission for Cleaning Ganga (NMCG) initiative.

It is a Geographic Information System (GIS) that will be used to improve planning, execution and the overall development of projects. Geographic Information Systems is a computer-based tool that analyses, stores and visualises geographic information, typically in a map.

The GIS will also provide a platform for a central repository of all data related to the Ganga river basin. This data includes the Sewage Treatment Plant (STP), the Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP), water quality monitoring location, afforestation, roads and pathways (ghats) and riverfront development. The GIS will improve the NMCG initiative’s effectiveness in pollution abatement and river rejuvenation work.

Additionally, the Government is providing financial aid to state government programmes that are working towards reducing pollution in the river Ganga. In May 2015, the Government approved the Namami Gange Programme that was developed under the NMCG initiative.

The programme is an Integrated Ganga Conservation Mission, approved as a flagship programme’ by the Government in June 2014. The Namami Ganga Programme has a total budget outlay of IN 20,000 crores (approximately US $2.95 billion). The programme aims to prevent and reduce pollution in the river.  It is an umbrella programme which integrates previous and currently ongoing initiatives by enhancing efficiency, extracting synergies and supplementing them with more comprehensive and better-coordinated interventions.

In a press statement released in 2015, the Ministry said that the Government is completely in charge of the funding of various activities and projects under this programm. On account of the unsatisfactory results of the earlier Ganga Action Plans, the Government will oversee the operation and maintenance of the assets for a 10-year minimum period.

The press release said the Government also planned to establish a 4-battalion Ganga Eco-Task Force, a Territorial Army Unit and would work to develop legislation to check pollution and protect the river. 

The programme focuses on pollution abatement interventions particularly the interception, diversion and treatment of wastewater flowing through the open drains through bio-remediation, appropriate in-situ treatment, the use of innovative technologies and the previously mentioned Sewage Treatment Plants and Effluent Treatment Plant (ETPs).

The approach is underpinned by socio-economic benefits that the programme is expected to deliver in terms of job creation, improvement in the standard of living and health benefits to the people that are dependent on the river. 

The Ministry said that over the last 3 years the NMCG has been using new technology for drain treatment and the overall maintenance of the river.

The implementation of projects under the Hybrid Annuity Mode (HAM) to address issues such as sub-optimal design, and a lack of ownership. The HAM will also ensure ownership and distinct accountability for continuous acceptable long-term performance.

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