Cleaning Ganga takes priority! Union Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari recently said that 70 to 80 per cent of the Ganga will be cleaned by the end of March 2019. A PTI report quoted Gadkari as saying that by March 2020 the Ganga river will be 100 per cent clean! Nearly Rs 26,000 crore is being spent on cleaning up the holy river which is highly polluted now, under the National Mission for Clean Ganga in association with the states. In the month of October this year, Gadkari had set March 2019 as the deadline to clean 80 per cent of the Ganga river under the Narendra Modi-led government. He had explained that that along with the cleaning of River Ganga project, the ministry is also working towards completing the construction of ghats and crematoriums by March end. While the government is aiming to complete 70-80% of the Namami Gange project by March 2019, they are aiming March 2020 to complete the entire project. Recently the Namami Gange project got a huge boost with a 128-year old drain being diverted from river Ganga. According to a Live Hindustan report, the over hundred years old Sisamau drain has been successfully diverted in a challenging task jointly carried out by Uttar Pradesh\u2019s Jal Nigam and Namami Gange engineers. This means that river Ganga has been freed from the dirt of the largest drain of Asia. The sewage from the 128-year-old Sisamau drain had always been dumped into the river Ganga through Bhairo Ghat. However, the infamous Sisamau drain has now been diverted. Earlier, around 8 crore litres of sewage had been successfully routed. But due to the velocity of the drain, handling the remaining 6 crore litres of sewage was a difficult task. However, with continuous efforts, the remaining sewage has now been finally routed by engineers, according to the report. An integrated conservation mission, the Namami Gange Programme has been approved as a \u2018Flagship Programme\u2019 by Modi government in June 2014 with a budget outlay of Rs 20,000 crore. The project was launched in a bid to accomplish the twin objectives of effective abatement of pollution, conservation as well as rejuvenation of river Ganga. Some of the main pillars of the Namami Gange Programme are sewerage treatment infrastructure, river-front development, river-surface cleaning, bio-diversity, afforestation, public awareness, industrial effluent monitoring and Ganga Gram. The implementation of this programme has been divided into entry-level activities- for immediate visible impact, medium-term activities- that are to be implemented within 5 years and long-term activities- that are to be implemented within 10 years.