1,600 villages along Ganga to be made filth free, says Uma Bharti

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New Delhi | Published: January 30, 2016 11:24:48 PM

The Centre will implement a four-pronged programme in which as many as 1,600 villages along the Ganga stretch will be made filth free by October, Union Minister Uma Bharti said today.

The government will implement the package in 1,600 village panchayat headquarters along the river banks within the next six months and complete the first phase of Ganga cleaning by October this year, she said. (Express Photo)The government will implement the package in 1,600 village panchayat headquarters along the river banks within the next 6 months and complete the first phase of Ganga cleaning by October, said Uma Bharti. (Express Photo)

The Centre will implement a four-pronged programme in which as many as 1,600 villages along the Ganga stretch will be made filth free by October, Union Minister Uma Bharti said today.

The government will implement the package in 1,600 village panchayat headquarters along the river banks within the next six months and complete the first phase of Ganga cleaning by October this year, she said.

The second phase will be attained in four years after that in which 6,000 villages will be taken up for the programme, the Water Resources Minister said.

Bharti was speaking on the sidelines of ‘Swachh Ganga- Gramin Sahbhagita’, a national-level consultation programme organised for heads of villages located along the river banks.

The event, considered to be the first attempt to rope in villagers in the ‘Clean Ganga’ mission, saw participation of around 1,200 panchayat heads.

“There is a need to take care of four things for cleaning villages along the Ganga. Those are…where will sewage water go? How to divert drains flowing into the river?

“How to convert waste generating from the villages into fertilizers, and how to generate employment by cultivating medicinal plants along the river?” she said.

The Water Resources Ministry also inked MoUs with HRD, Shipping, Rural Development, Sports, Tourism, Ayush and Youth Affairs and Sports Ministries for carrying out various activities under the ‘Namami Gange’ programme.

As per the MoUs, all institutes affiliated to HRD along the river stretch will join the mission and old water bodies located along the Ganga and the Yamuna will be restored.

Government is also planning to initiate organic farming along Ganga banks to generate jobs for local youth.
Bharti said several celebrities and renowned personalities, including spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and film actor Amitabh Bachchan, have expressed desire to be part of the mission.

Union ministers Nitin Gadkari, Smriti Irani, Birender Singh, Sarbananda Sonowal, Mahesh Sharma and Sanwar Lal Jat also attended the event.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat, eco-activist Baba Balbir Singh Seechewal and ayurveda exponent Acharya Balkrishna also attended the event, along with around 1,200 panchayat heads.

Bharti said the action plan to tackle pollution emanating from tanneries in Kanpur is ready and it will be implemented in a month or two.

Gadkari, extending his ministry’s support for the programme, said the government has accorded the “highest priority” to the mission.

He said there is no dearth of funds for the mission and added even foreign banks are willing to fund the ambitious project.

The project would be implemented with “highest-level” of professionalism and transparency in a time-bound manner, he said.

HRD Minister Smriti Irani said IITs and NITs have been asked to adopt some villages each under ‘Unnat Bharat Abhiyan’ which aims at finding solutions to various problems like sanitation and drinking water.

“I am happy to say that 13 IITs and NITs have accepted the request,” she said.

Irani added her ministry will take efforts to educate people from the 1,600 gram panchayats.

Rawat emphasised on the need for joint efforts by states and the central government to achieve the goal of rejuvenating Ganga.

He highlighted the need for Uttarakhand to have bio-toilets and sought the Centre’s help for implementing various projects in the state.

Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma sought to not politicise the mission and advocated eco-tourism in Ganga without causing pollution.

Meanwhile, a presentation was made to the attendees on Punjab’s Seechewal model on water management and waste disposal.

Besides, ‘Ganga Vichar Manch’, a portal created with an aim to initiate interactive dialogues among various stakeholders of the revered river was also launched during the event.

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