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NGRBA: No untreated sewage, effluents to enter Ganga after 2020

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh chairs the 1st meeting of 

National Ganga River Authority, in New Delhi on October 05, 2009. Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission Montek Singh 

Ahluwalia, the Union Minister of Urban Development, S. Jaipal Reddy, the Union Minister of Parliamentary Affairs 

and Water Resources, Pawan K. Bansal, the Minister of State for Environment and Forests (Independent Charge), 

Jairam Ramesh and other dignitaries are also seen.Prime Minister Manmohan Singh chairs the 1st meeting of National Ganga River Authority, in New Delhi on October 05, 2009. Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia, the Union Minister of Urban Development, S. Jaipal Reddy, the Union Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Water Resources, Pawan K. Bansal, the Minister of State for Environment and Forests (Independent Charge), Jairam Ramesh and other dignitaries are also seen.

The National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) today decided that no untreated municipal sewage and industrial effluents would be allowed to enter the river Ganga after 2020 under Mission Clean Ganga.

The decision was taken at the first meeting of the NGRBA held here today under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The meeting was attended by Uttarakhand Chief Minister Amesh Pokhariyal, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar,Union Urban Development Minister S Jaipal Reddy, Water Resources Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, Science and Technology Minister Prithviraj Chavan, Environment and Forests Minister Jairam Ramesh and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia.

According to an official press release, there is currently a sewage treatement capacity of only about 10 million litres per day (mld) against 3000 mld of sewage being generated in the cities and towns along the river.

It said an estimated investment of Rs 15,000 crore would be required over the next ten years to create the necessary treatment and sewerage infrastructure.

The meeting agreed that the required resources would be provided by the Centre and the States over the 10-year period and would be shared suitably between them after Planning Commision consultations.

It said new and innovative models for implementation such as special purpose vehicles would be adopted for the mission.

The meeting decided that, while a comprehensive river basin management plan would be ready by December, 2010, ongoing sewage treatments would be put on fast-track and the States would formulate detailed project reports for new projects in this area in critical pollution hotspots and major towns on Ganga and its major tributaries by November 30 this year.

The tripartite memoranda of agreements (MoAs) in this regard will be signed by February 1, 2010 and initial portfolio of projects will be sanctioned by March 1, 2010, the release said.

According to the release, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests will work with Staes to prepare specific action plans for dealing with the problem of industrial pollution in the Ganga Basin by January 31, 2010.

The meeting agreed that the issue of hydro electric projects in the upper reaches of Bhagirathi (Loharinag Pala , Pala Maneri and Bhairon Ghati) would be studied by the Union Ministries of Environment & Forests and Power, which would submit their report to the NGRBA in 60 days.

The NGRBA decided that it would have a Standing Committee headed by Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjeee that will meet frequently and review implementation of its decisions.

An empowered Steering Committee headed by the Union Evironment Secretary will be set up for fast-track clearance of projects on the lines of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.

The Ministry of Environment & Forests will create separate and distinct professional teams to service the NGRBA and the Empowered Standing Committee.

The NGRBA was set up on February 20 this year under the Environment (Protection) Act as an empowered Authority to adopt a new holistic river basin approach the cleaning of river Ganga and address the issue of minimum ecological flows, besides pollution abatement works.

After coming into being, the Authority invited Expressions of Interest (EOIs) for preparinv a comprehensive Ganga river basin management plan. Later, Requests for Proposals were issued to ten shortlisted firms and the work will be awarded by December 15, the release said.

Minister of State for Environment and Forests (Independent 

Charge), Jairam Ramesh briefing the media on Ganga River Basin Authority, in New Delhi on October 05, 2009.The 

Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Vijai Sharma and the Additional Director General (M&C), PIB, Manoj 

Pandey are also seen.
Minister of State for Environment and Forests (Independent Charge), Jairam Ramesh briefing the media on Ganga River Basin Authority, in New Delhi on October 05, 2009.The Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Vijai Sharma and the Additional Director General (M&C), PIB, Manoj Pandey are also seen.

An amount of Rs 250 crore has been allocated for the NGRBA in the Union Budget for 2009-10. An allocation of Rs 500 crore per year has been agreed to by the Planning Commission for the remaining two years of the XIth Plan.

The World Bank, which has promised long-term support for the Authority's work programme, has indicated assistance of $ 1 billion for the first phase. A proposal of $3 million project preparation facility was forwarded to the Bank and it has been approved.

Empowered State River Conservation Authorities have been notified for West Bengal, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.

A Model Tripartite Memorandum of Agreement between Centre, States and Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) has been prepared by the National Institute of Urban Affairs. It has been circulated to States for comments. The MoA will link flow of funds to achievement of milestones and measurable improvement in water quality.

The NRGBA has submitted a proposal to the 13th Finance Commission for one time allocation of Rs 1320 crore for meeting O&M needs of STPs for 5 years.

The NGRBA has approved pilot projects of Sankat Mochan Foundation at Varanasi (pond based treatment) and National Botanical Research Institute (plant based wastewater management) at Hardwar in order to encourage innovative approaches to river cleaning.

Work on GIS based mapping of Ganga basin has been entrusted to the National Informatics Centre (NIC). This will be completed by June 2010 and is expected to be a useful decision making tool.

The release said the NGRBA had held consultations with States, Urban Local Bodies and experts for identifying river conservation projects to be implemented in the public-private partnrship (PPP) mode through special purpose vehicles.

It has initiated action for third party evaluation of schemes. Independent institutions will be appointed by December, 2009 for this purpose, the release said.

An improved water quality monitoring system is being put in place. Work on online data transmission from monitoring organisations and public access to WQM data is expected to be completed by December, 2009.

The Authority has finalised a proposal for awarding consultancy by January 2010 for creation of a state-of-the-art knowledge centre on Ganga.

A compendium of sewage treatment technologies has been prepared by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur for guidance of implementing agencies/ULBs.

Also, a status paper on Ganga has been prepared by Alternate Hydro Energy Centre, IIT Roorkee providing an overview of Ganga Basin, the release added.

NNN

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