NEW DELHI: The government will launch more than 300 projects along the banks of Ganga, ranging from construction and modernisation of ghats to afforestation of river banks, on Thursday under the Namami Gange programme to clean and protect the 2,500 km long river.”Tomorrow will be a historic day…from Gangotri till the mouth of the river (Ganga Sagar), at the banks of the Ganga, banks of the Yamuna, the banks of Ram Ganga and Kali, 300 projects will start simultaneously,” water resources minister Uma Bharati said at a press conference here on Wednesday.
The government has lined up 1,000 projects in different states including Delhi, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal as part of the National Mission for Clean Ganga. Bharati said the second phase of the project will begin by October 2018.
More than 1,500 million litres of raw sewage is discharged into the river every day. Add to that 500 million litres of industrial waste from 700 highly polluting industries and thousands of tonnes of non-biodegradable solid waste that are dumped into the river daily.
Bharati will launch the projects along with road transport and highways and shipping minister Nitin Gadkari from Haridwar on Thursday. The event will be attended by several ministers and chief ministers.
In May 2015, the government of India approved the Namami Gange programme with an outlay of Rs 20,000 crore for five years.
As part of the programme the government plans to beautify and modernise hundreds of ghats and crematoriums along the river bank. It will also construct of new sewage treatment plants and launch river surface cleaning projects, using trash skimmer machines to clean floating waste.
A massive afforestation drive will also take place along the banks of Ganga. The government has approved Rs 2,000 crore for plantation on over 1.34 lakh hectares. Preservation of biodiversity and protection of river fauna are a major part of the scheme. Biodiversity centres will be created for conservation of dolphins, turtles and different varieties of fish.
Gadkari said the hard work that was done by the water resource ministry and that the project would not happen without the help of the state government and cooperation of the public.
The government will launch a website and a mobile app for the Clean Ganga project at Thursday’s function in Haridwar.