River Ganga will be completely clean by March 2020, says Nitin Gadkari

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MUMBAI: Namami Gange program of rejuvenation of river Ganga is not just about cleaning the river, but generating wealth out of waste is the guiding philosophy behind it, Union Minister for Shipping Nitin Gadkari has said.
Gadkari spoke on “Development of Infrastructure and Ganga Rejuvenation” at Indian Merchants Chamber (IMC) of Commerce and Industry here on Thursday, where he assured the audience that seventy percent of river Ganga will be clean by March 2019 and fully cleaned by March 2020.
All the 221 projects under the Namami Gange programme worth Rs 22,238 crore are in their advanced stages of completion, Gadkari said. Recycled wastewater from oil refineries, industries and sewerage treatment plants (STPs) along Ganga in Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal will be sold to be used for internal use like cleaning of railway platforms, Gadkari said and added that all the 84 STPs are being operated by private companies and none of them have been handed over to local municipal corporations, as government does not want to depend on government agencies to operate them.
Government is also implementing rejuvenation projects of 40 tributaries that join river Ganga and rivers like Yamuna, Gadkari said and added that Ganga waterway will be developed for tourism facilities like Ro-Ro services, catamarans and seaplanes.
Already five to seven Cruise ships have been brought to Varanasi. Ganga waterway is being developed to facilitate freight movement right up to Chittagong in Bangladesh and Myanmar whereby freight movement could reach North-East India. The project involves operationalizing 60 river ports along the four critical nodes in the Ganga river basin from Uttarakhand to Gangasagar in Bay of Bengal.
He added that the government intends to start River Traffic Control (RTC) system on the lines of Air Traffic Control (ATC) system between Haldia and Patna, Gadkari said.
Methane gas generated out of the waste through bio-digestion process will be used to power 5,000 public transport buses, Gadkari said.
In order to stop affluents from polluting the river, toilet blocks have been constructed in all the 4,500 villages along the banks of river Ganga, he added.

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