NEW DELHI: Union Ministers M Venkaiah Naidu and Uma Bharti today jointly launched ‘Smart Ganga City’ programme in 10 cities located along Ganga to set up Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) and improve drainage network there on hybrid annuity mode on public private partnership basis.Union Urban Development Minister Naidu and Water Resources Minister Bharti launched the works through video conferencing and were joined in by District Magistrates/Mayors of cities/towns.
Haridwar, Rishikesh, Mathura, Varanasi, Kanpur, Allahabad, Lucknow, Patna, Sahibganj and Barrackpore are the cities/town where the programme will be implemented in the first phase.
Bharti also stated the government plans to form District-Level Mentoring committees in Ganga basin states – on the lines of High-Level Task Force chaired by Cabinet Secretary – to keep an eye on programme implementation.
“Earlier, STPs would become defunct within four-five years for reasons including non-maintenance. Now, with the hybrid annuity mode, we expect the STPs to remain operational for longer period even as water is recycled,” Bharti said, while addressing the event from Ujjain.
In the hybrid annuity model, a part of capital investment (up to 40 percent) will be paid by government through construction linked milestones and the balance amount through an annuity over the contract duration up to 20 years to ensure longevity.
In previous schemes, Centre and states borne 70 per cent of the costs for setting up STPs. Now the programme will be completely Centre-sponsored, the Minister said.
She said her Ministry will sign MoUs with other Central Ministries to see recycled water from the STPs is bought for their use.
To a question, she said the Government will expand the Smart Ganga City programme to other cities including Agra in time to come.
“Also several foreign companies have come forward to work under hybrid annuity mode,” Bharti said.
At one point, the Minister stated the government will keep in mind local biodiversity and culture while doing river front development works.
Addressing the event from Hyderabad, Naidu urged local governing agencies concerned to join the mission “with complete dedication” and appealed people too to participate in the programme to make it successful.
“My ministry is an integral part of the Namami Gange programme,” he said, adding his Ministry will work with the Water Resources Ministry on a ‘Mission Mode’.