Rs 497cr proj to clean Ganga at Varanasi
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Last Updated: Thursday, June 10, 2010, 17:49
  
New Delhi: Government on Thursday approved an ambitious Rs 497-crore project envisaging setting up of a mega sewage treatment plant, renovation of ghats and other steps for cleaning river Ganga in Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today approved the project under Mission Clean Ganga of the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) for the holy city.

"Under the project a sewage treatment plant of 140 million litres per day capacity, 34kms of sewer lines, rehabilitation of existing sewerage systems and construction of three new pumping stations is proposed," Home Minister P Chidambaram told reporters here.

Besides building of community toilet complexes, renovation of 26 selected ghats, development of seven 'dhobi' ghats and building capacity for public participation and awareness is envisaged under the project, he added.

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said, "The project is significant since it is the first in a series that will be based on requirements of population in 2025-2030.

"Normally, such projects are planned keeping existing demand in mind but the NGRBA is looking at future population and formulating sewerage treatment facilities," he said, adding the project will reduce th pollution load on the river. The Centre will provide Rs 428 crore, 85 per cent of the cost, while the remaining, Rs 69 crore, will be met by Uttar Pradesh.

The project will be executed by the UP Jal Nigam and the Varanasi Nagar Nigam over a five-year period with the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests monitoring implementation through a tripartite memorandum of agreement between it, the state government and the local water board.

The government has taken a soft loan of about Rs 550 crore from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for the project repayable over 40 years at 0.75 per cent interest rate with an initial grace period of 10 years.

The NGRBA is also supporting alternative technology in Varanasi through a local NGO the Sankat Mochan Foundation. Two technologies---advanced integrated wastewater pond system and micro-tunneling for the ghat area are being experimented with, Ramesh said.

Earlier the cabinet had cleared a similar Rs 305 crore project for Allahabad. The Authority has so far approved three projects amounting to Rs 240 crore in Bihar, Rs 105 crore in West Bengal and Rs 65 crore in Uttarakhand.

PTI


First Published: Thursday, June 10, 2010, 17:49


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