Most projects launched to make river Ganga pollution-free will be completed by March 2019, Union Minister for Ganga Rejuvenation Nitin Gadkari said here today. “Keeping river Ganga pollution-free and maintaining its flow undisrupted is priority of the government,” he told reporters here. Gadkari said the Union government has launched 97 schemes under the Namami Gange project. Of them, 19 have been completed and work orders for another 55 projects have been issued, he said. He said 10 districts were more responsible for polluting the river Ganga and of them three districts in Uttar Pradesh – Kanpur, Allahabad and Varanasi – were major contributors. He said to curb sewer discharge from the cities in the Ganges, a 1,693-km-long sewer line was being laid in these districts, and of them four projects have been completed and work on another 13 projects were in progress.
He said a Trust has been set up under the chairmanship of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to seek contributions from society. Gadkari said Rs 220 crore has been deposited in the Trust and he received encouraging response during his recent roadshow in London for the purpose. Indian-origin industrialists in the UK have agreed to contribute for implementation of projects under the Namami Gange project, he said. Industrialists from Mumbai have also assured a contribution of Rs 1,000 crore, he said, and appealed to all sections of society in Uttar Pradesh to contribute to the Trust.
Gadkari said that both Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh governments have given their approval to implement the linking of rivers Ken and Betwa to enhance irrigation facilities in the arid Bundelkhand region. He said Rs 2,500 crore will be spent on the project. To another question whether Haldia-Varanasi waterways will be extended to the Allahabad, Gadkari, who also holds the portfolios of Road, Transport and Highways, Shipping and Water Resources and River Development, said steps have been taken to start waterways from Varanasi to Allahabad before next Kumbh.
Earlier at a meeting with road-construction experts, he asked them to evolve techniques to ensure that roads are built at cheaper costs and last longer. He announced Rs two lakh crore for development of roads in Uttar Pradesh and said a proper road network would usher in employment and remove poverty. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said when he assumed power, the state had 1,21,000 km of potholed roads. Within 100 days in office, the BJP government made 50,000 km roads pothole-free, he said. Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Maurya was also present.