Haridwar/New Delhi, GE In its bid to fast-track execution of the ambitious Namami Gange programme, the NDA government today launched 231 projects, including installation of sewage treatment plants and ghat constructions, at over 100 locations in seven states with an estimated cost of Rs 1,500 crore.
The projects, aimed at cleaning the holy river and ensuring its unfettered flow, were launched simultaneously at 103 locations in five basin states of the river - Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, besides Delhi and Haryana through which Ganga's tributary Yamuna passes.
Union Ministers Nitin Gadkari, Uma Bharati and Mahesh Sharma and Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat launched 43 such projects in Haridwar.
Noting "wrong planning" resulted in high pollution level in Ganga, Union Water Resources Minister Bharati reiterated commitment of the Modi government to taking corrective steps to cleanse the river which she termed as "pride of the world and country".
"The Ganga has not been polluted because of untreated water as much as because of wrong planning. Projects being launched under Namami Gange are corrective steps to atone for what has been done over the years to dirty the river," she said at the event.
"We will achieve what has been resolved," she told the gathering, according to an official statement.
Announcing that the Centre is mulling a legislation, called the Ganga Act, for the success of Namami Gange, Bharati said industries will not just be barred from dumping untreated waste into the holy river, but treated water will also be diverted for irrigation purposes.
The preliminary draft of the Act will be sent to the states for their opinion and the final draft will be prepared based on it, she said.
Bharati also renewed her pledge to begin a 'Ganga Padayatra' (foot march) in October this year to create awareness among the people about advantages of a 'Clean Ganga' and how they could contribute to it.
The minister said those found dumping industrial waste into the Ganga will be sent to jail.
She said that Namami Gange will achieve its objective by 2018 but its effects will be visible by the end of this year.
Union Transport Minister Gadkari said the government will install 60 sewage treatment plants and launch 50 other big projects under the mission later this year. .