The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi chaired the National Ganga Council meet held on 30th December 2022 via video conferencing in Kolkata. Shri Modi said that the meeting of Council provides a great opportunity to discuss ways to further strengthen the Namami Gange initiative. PM Modi also spoke about ways to enhance cleanliness eﬀorts including expanding the network of sewage treatment plants in the smaller towns. During the meeting, PM emphasized on ways to enhance various forms of herbal farming along the Ganga. PM Shri Modi said that the purity of Maa Ganga is our common heritage and also our responsibility. Our forefathers have given us a precious heritage and it is our destiny to hand over this heritage to future generations in the same condition and with same purity.
The National Ganga Council meet held earlier today was a great opportunity to discuss ways to further strengthen the Namami Gange initiative. Spoke about ways to enhance cleanliness efforts including expanding the network of sewage treatment plants in the smaller towns. pic.twitter.com/3TyDD8btPn
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 30, 2022
Prior to the meeting, PM Shri Modi also laid foundation stone and dedicated Namami Gange and Drinking Water & Sanitation Projects to the nation via video conferencing. The Prime Minister inaugurated 7 sewerage infrastructure projects (20 Sewage Treatment Plants and 612 km network) at a cost of more than Rs 990 crore. These projects will beneﬁt municipalities of Nabadwip, Kacharapra, Halishar, Budge-Budge, Barrackpore, Chandan Nagar, Bansberia, UttraparaKotrung, Baidyabati, Bhadreshwar, Naihati, Garulia, Titagarh, and Panihati. These projects will add the sewage treatment capacity of over 200 MLD in the State of West Bengal.
Prime Minister also laid the foundation stone for 5 sewerage infrastructure projects (8 Sewage Treatment Plants and 80 Km Network) to be developed under National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) at an estimated cost of Rs 1,585 crore. These projects will add 190 MLD new STP capacity in West Bengal. These projects will beneﬁt areas of North Barrackpore, Hooghly-Chinsura, Kolkata KMC area- Garden Reach & Adi Ganga (TollyNala) and Mahestala town.
Prime Minister reﬂected on the importance of the project for Rejuvenation of River Adi Ganga, infamously known as TollyNala, and a tributary of Ganga, in Kolkata. Recognizing the bad situation of the river, the project has been approved by NMCG at an estimated cost of Rs. 653.67 crore that includes construction of modern sewerage infrastructure comprising of 3 Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) of 10 Million Litres per Day (MLD), 11.60 MLD and 3.5 MLD capacities. This project is 100% centrally sponsored. Prime Minister stressed that holistic preventive steps are being taken under the programme towards cleaning and rejuvenation of rivers. These steps needs to be replicated in other rivers in the country which are facing challenges of pollution. PM Shri Modi elaborated that such initiatives for rivers in other parts of country need to be evolved looking at local conditions and requirements and thus can be facilitated through outcome of discussions in Council. He expressed the hope that Council members through their vast experience and leadership will provide ideas and ways to take the initiative further. PM Shri Modi also spoke about involving local bodies viz., nagarpalika, gram panchayats in the activities of mission. This will enhance the capabilities of State Government also at grass root level and make the Ganga mission a success.
PM Shri Modi, while elaborating on river Ganga as navigational waterways informed that over 1,000 waterways are being constructed in India and conveyed that our aim is to make modern cruise ships sail in Indian rivers. With substantial development of waterways, India’s cruise tourism sector is all set to embark on a grand new journey. PM Shri Modi announced that on 13th January 2023, World’s longest river cruise will sail from Kashi to reach Dibrugarh via Bangladesh travelling 2,300 km.
PM Shri Modi emphasized the importance of jan andolan and public participation in the cleanliness of the river. Each citizen needs to take a vow to keep Maa Ganga clean and only then all the government arrangements will be successful.
The Union Minister for Jal Shakti, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat informed the Council members that this is the 2nd meeting of the National Ganga Council in pursuance of the Authority Notiﬁcation Order of 2016. The Council provides the directions to National Mission for Clean Ganga to take the Namami Gange Programme forward and ensure the nirmalta and aviralta of the most revered and culturally important river Ganga in India. He said that under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi signiﬁcant improvement has been achieved on all verticals under Namami Ganga Programme.
Shri Shekhawat also talked about the important component of Arth Ganga espoused by the Prime Minister in the ﬁrst meeting of NGC in 2019. He informed that several major initiatives have been initiated under Arth Ganga that primarily aims to establish people-river connect through the “bridge of economy” and develop Namami Gange as a self sustainable river rejuvenation model for the entire country. He said that novel initiatives have been undertaken including promotion of natural farming, reuse of treated water and sludge, livelihood generation, institutional capacity building etc.
Besides, there were some issues ﬂagged and shared by the Chief Ministers of the Member States of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and West Bengal and Dy Chief Minister of Bihar.
Ms. Mamta Banerjee, Chief Minister of West Bengal raised the issue of river bank erosion in some areas of West Bengal and requested the Centre to formulate a mechanism for ﬂood control and management programme in consultation with the States. She also ﬂagged the issue of erosion and related issues in coastal belt in West Bengal and asked the Centre to help the States technically and ﬁnancially to formulate a framework for protection of coastal regions through appropriate ﬁnancial support. West Bengal CM mentioned importance of protection of Sunderbans area as well as that of Ganga Sagar Mela observed every year in which millions of people take part.
Mr. Tejashwi Yadav, Deputy CM, Bihar ﬂagged the issue of siltation in Bihar and urged the Centre to roll out necessary guidelines in consultation with the States to address the issue.
Yogi Adityanath, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh stated in the meeting that more than 200 million taking a dip in the clean water of Ganga during Kumbh Mela 2019 is a reﬂection of the improved water quality and biodiversity in the river. He reinforced that by 2025 when the next Kumbh Mela will happen, the sewerage projects in Uttar Pradesh will be completed. Mentioning the work being done for rejuvenation of small rivers in Uttar Pradesh, he informed that 75 projects are being undertaken. In Uttar Pradesh, all facets of Ganga rejuvenation are being holistically addressed. The CM also reinforced that steps under Arth Ganga will continue to be taken in the State to make Namami Ganga a self sustaining river rejuvenation model.
Mr. Pushkar Singh Dhami, Chief Minister of Uttarakhand informed that water quality in the State has improved a lot and the State administration is committed to restore the pristine glory of the river Ganga. Shri Dhami also assured continued commitment towards Arth Ganga model in the State.
Mr. Hemant Soren, Chief Minister of Jharkhand, informed that appropriate help is given by the Central Government to clean river Ganga clean in Jharkhand and schemes for sewage treatment plants and solid waste management are being undertaken.
The Union Ministers attending the meeting assured all support from their Ministries to implement the schemes with their ministries to improve the economic conditions of the people in the Ganga basin and to work for the betterment of the environmental conditions and biodiversity in the area, as envisaged in the Arth Ganga concept given by the Prime Minister.
The Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Shri Narendra Singh Tomar spelt out the initiatives of the ministry for the promotion of natural farming in the Ganga basin states. Union Minister of Shipping Shri Sarbananda Sonowal said that ministry will provide all necessary help for developing river Ganga waterways to give boost to river tourism and economic activity. Union Minister of Power Shri R K Singh highlighted his Ministry’s commitment to use treated water from STPs in the Thermal Power plants located within 50 kms radius with identiﬁcation of 13 thermal power plants to implement it initially. Union Minister of Housing and Urban Aﬀairs Shri Hardeep Singh Puri, assured the convergence of schemes like AMRUT 2.0 of his ministry with the NMCG to increase sewerage treatment capacity in the Ganga basin States. Union Minister of Environment, Forests & Climate Change Shri Bhupender Yadav said that all eﬀorts are being made to conserve and improve biodiversity in the basin area. Minister of Tourism. Shri Kishan Reddy narrated many initiatives of his ministry to develop tourism and employment generation activities through river and ghat based heritage tourism. The Minister of State (IC) for Science and Technology Dr Jitendra Singh mentioned about new technologies indigenously developed for real time monitoring of water quality and emerging contaminants and also about the collaborations with other countries for technology transfer.
Vice Chairman, NITI Ayog Shri Suman Berry, mentioned that PM Gati Shakti can be used in regard to the projects under Namami Gange and that G20 platform can be used as a branding opportunity for such successful programs like Namami Gange. Earlier Secretary, DoWR,RD&GR Shri Pankaj Kumar and Shri G. Asok Kumar, Director General, National Mission for Clean Ganga made a detailed presentation on the progress of the infrastructure works and the initiatives taken under Arth Ganga, after the last meeting of NGC at Kanpur.