Smart Ganga City Project

Cities located along the bank of the river Ganga house large factories, tanneries and other industries which release effluents and toxic materials causing heavy pollution in the Ganga and thus generate filth bringing catastrophic effects on surrounding environment and the health of citizens. Tackling problem of such a huge proportion as this, some drastic measure was required and it came in form of Smart Ganga City program in 10 cities located along the Ganga River. The purpose of the project is to set up Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) and improve drainage network there on hybrid annuity mode on public private partnership basis.

The two ministries that are engaged in this challenging task of cleaning the Ganga through missionary zeal are Ministry of Urban Development and Ministry for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation. The respective in-charge of these ministries Venkiaha Naidu and Uma Bharti recently unveiled program through video conferencing and were joined in by District Magistrates/Mayors of cities/towns.

The ten districts important from the viewpoints of culture, industry, tourism and religion covered under implementation of this ambitious project include Haridwar, Rishikesh, Mathura, Varanasi, Kanpur, Allahabad, Lucknow, Patna, Sahibganj and Barrackpore. National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) has chosen these cities in the first phase for infrastructure development for sewage treatment.

In order to keep track of the development under the targeted districts the government will constitute District-Level Mentoring committees in Ganga basin states — on the lines of High-Level Task Force chaired by Cabinet Secretary. The major highlights of the project include.

Earlier, STPs would become defunct within four-five years because of non-maintenance. Now, with the hybrid annuity mode, STPs are expected to remain operational for longer period even as water is recycled. In order to ensure longevity through the hybrid annuity model, the government would pay a part of capital investment (up to 40 per cent) through construction linked milestones and the balance amount through an annuity over the contract duration up to 20 years.

The Program is totally Centre-sponsored whereas in previous instances of establishing STPs Centre and states shared the costs. MoUs are proposed to be signed by water resources ministry with other Central Ministries to see that recycled water from the STPs is bought for their use.

The Government proposes to expand the Smart Ganga City program to other cities including Agra in time to come. While launching river front development works the steps will be initiated by the government to prevent any damage to local biodiversity and culture. It may be recalled here that the program is an extension of the Namami Gange Program which is also being implemented on hybrid annuity mode on public private partnership basis.

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