DEHRADUN: 16 July, 2015
 Even as the Clean Ganga campaign of the Union government was launched with much fanfare across the country last year, work on the project has been moving at a snail's pace in the state.

This is evident as only two projects of the proposed 16 in the state have been completed till now.

The project -- planned by the National Ganga River Basin Authority under the National River Cleaning Plan -- is to have sewage treatment plants (STPs) and interception and diversions of natural streams at 16 locations, including Dehradun. However, the project has been only completed at Haridwar and Rishkesh.

The STPs were to be installed along natural drains connecting with the river Ganga and its tributaries.

At present, the sewage of all towns and cities in the hill state flows into the river and the local corporation is unequipped to handle the situation. The grim scenario can be gauged from the fact that untreated sewage of numerous small towns and hamlets flows directly into the river and its tributaries through 95 natural drains in the hilly region.

Uttarkashi has the maximum number of drains at 28, while Swargashram has the second highest at 14, all flowing directly into the river. As many as three untapped drains are also found in Badrinath, eight in Srinagar, four in Devprayag, three in Karanprayag, seven in Gopeshwar and five in Joshimath.

TOI accessed the status report of the project which lays threadbare the abysmal progress of setting up STPs in the state from Gangotri downwards. The projects were sanctioned five to six years ago.

Under the project, STPs and interceptors and diversions were to be developed in 16 sites, including Gangotri, Devprayag, Rudraprayag, Rishikesh and Badrinath.

The delay in setting up STPs and building required infrastructure has not spring any surprise for the expert. "Handling of civic waste in small towns along the river Ganga in hilly terrains has never been planned by the successive government in Uttarakhand. The reason for several untapped natural drains is because the state government never thought of setting up STPs and instead used other technology to clean sewers," said noted environmentalist, Padma Shree Dr Anil Joshi.

Meanwhile, top state government officials have attributed several reasons for the delay in projects, including the 2013 deluge and resistance from locals against installation of STPs near villages.

Unable to make any headway to install STPs, the officials have reworked the strategy.

"The project was stopped in Badrinath, Karanprayag and Rudraprayag due to soil erosion caused by the deluge. We are working out a new alignment at these places, while work is underway at other sites," said a senior government official monitoring the NGRBA projects in Uttarakhand.

To block the entry of sewage into the river through all natural drains, the officials are working on fixing interceptors ahead of the main river.

"The interceptors will clean the sewage flow and then water would be diverted to the main course. But the process will take some time," added the official.
Courtesy: Times Of India

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