Bihar announces Rs.1,000 crore project to clean up Ganga

June 3rd, 2009 - 4:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Sushil Kumar Patna, June 3 (IANS) The Bihar government has earmarked Rs.1,000 crore (Rs.10 billion) for an ambitious project to save river Ganga from pollution by cleaning up the drains that empty into it here.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar late Tuesday said that untreated sewage and garbage would not be allowed to go into the river.

“The state government is working on a Rs.1,000-crore project to save river Ganga from pollution,” Nitish Kumar said at a function to celebrate Ganga Dussehra.

“We are committed to do everything to keep the river pollution free,” he said.

Speaking at the same function, Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi said a Rs.1,000 crore project was also being signed for the renovation of the outdated and outworn sewerage systems in Patna.

The project was delayed due to the Lok Sabha elections last month.

Last year the state government had approached Enviroway, a Canadian company in collaboration with Asian Development Bank to clean up the city’s drains.

Enviroway told government officials to introduce biochemical treatment methods to clean the drains that will be cost effective and eco-friendly.

Ganga is highly polluted despite being considered sacred by Hindus. About 30 large drains here discharge about 190 million litres of untreated sewage and garbage into the the river every day.

Tested samples of the water revealed a high presence of coliform bacteria. “Garbage is dumped into the river, contributing to the growth of the bacteria,” a scientist said.

A latest research has revealed that Ganga water is unfit for agricultural purposes also.

A joint team of army and air force officers had completed a journey from Allahabad to Patna through the river route Last year.

Members of the team said they were shocked at the filthy condition of the riverbanks, the garbage dumping and the flow of untreated sewage water into the river.

“We came across dozens of half-burnt bodies and corpses floating in the river. We also came across animal carcasses and heaps of polythene bags,” a team member said.

According to an estimate of the environmental science department of A.N. College here during the river’s 2,510-km-long journey from Gaumukh to the Bay of Bengal, nearly 1 billion litres of untreated sewage gets disposed into the river.

Over Rs.8 billion has been spent in the last three years to clean up many Indian rivers, but major ones like the Ganges and the Yamuna continue to be polluted. Most of the money was spent on cleaning the drains that empty into the rivers by setting up sewage treatment plants and sanitation facilities.

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