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8 Mar, 2013

Indian River Clean-up Plans Showing Mixed Results

Press Information Bureau

Ministry of Environment and Forests, 05-March, 2013 – Ganga Action Plan (GAP) is being implemented since 1985 for undertaking pollution abatement activities in the identified polluted stretches of river Ganga through implementation of works like interception and diversion of sewage, setting up of sewage treatment plants, low cost sanitation works, crematoria work etc.

Total Sewage Treatment capacity of 1091 million liters per day (mld) has been created under the GAP. With the pollution abatement works completed so far, despite significant increase in urbanization, industrialization and growth in population in cities along the banks of river Ganga, the water quality in terms of BOD (Bio-chemical Oxygen Demand) values reported to have improved as compared to the pre-GAP water quality on major monitoring locations.

However, the levels of bacterial contamination in terms of fecal coliform are reported to be exceeding the maximum permissible limit at a number of locations. This was stated by Mrs Jayanthi Natarajan Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Environment and Forests, in the Rajya Sabha today, in a written reply to a question by Mr Avinash Pande.

The Minister further stated that Similarly for addressing the problem of pollution in river Yamuna, financial assistance is provided to UP, Delhi and Haryana under Yamuna Action Plan (YAP) in a phased manner since 1993. Under Phase-I and II of YAP, 40 sewage treatment plants with a total capacity of 902.25 million litres per day, have been completed in 21 towns of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi. The water quality of river Yamuna has not shown the desired improvement owing to a large gap between the demand and availability of sewage treatment capacity and lack of fresh water in the river.

In light of experience gained in implementation of the river action plans since 1985, the conservation strategy was reviewed by the Government. Accordingly, in February, 2009, the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) has been constituted as an empowered, planning financing, monitoring and coordinating authority with the objective to ensure effective abatement of pollution and conservation of the river Ganga by adopting a holistic river basin approach.

The Minister further stated that the Yamuna Action Plan Phase – III project for Delhi has been approved by the Ministry in December, 2011 at an estimated cost of Rs 1656 crore with loan assistance from Japan International Cooperation Agency. Besides this, two projects have also been sanctioned by the Ministry in July, 2012 at an estimated cost of Rs. 217.87 crore for taking up works for pollution abatement of river Yamuna in towns of Sonepat and Panipat in Haryana which are located on upstream of Wazirabad in Delhi.

Further, for formulation of comprehensive pollution abatement projects for rivers/lakes a detailed guidelines has been prepared by the Ministry for benefit of all stakeholders, the Minister added.