Mumbai: Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday expressed hope that river Ganga will become completely clean by March 2020 considering the pace at which its rejuvenation work is in progress.
He said that private sector support and funding through Hybrid Annuity Model are two instruments which would be pivotal in facilitating this.
Elaborating further on National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), Gadkari said that the focus is on ten major towns which discharge almost 64% of total sewage and on the tributaries of Ganges discharging dirty water into the river.
Pointing out the heightened pace of project initiation and execution, the Minister said that 12 projects aimed at cleaning 40 nalahsat a cost of Rs. 4,500 crore have been started. He said that the principle of One City One Operator has been introduced, to improve efficiency.
Private operators are involved who will be also responsible for maintaining the quality of cleaning work by doing checks three times a day. They will check Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) and Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) to ascertain project progress. Real-time Water Quality Monitoring (RTWQM) stations have been set in operation, more of which will be operationalized in the second phase.
Traditional procurement models like EPC and DBOT do not provide adequate safeguards for sustainable Operation & Maintenance (O&M) of sewage treatment plants. Speaking about the suitability of the Hybrid Annuity model for sectors with uncertain revenue streams, the Minister said that under this model, 40% cost of Namami Gange projects are borne by the government, 40% cost by private operators and 20% from bank guarantees.
Gadkari further spoke about turning the waste coming into rivers into wealth. He cited the example of Mathura refinery, where the waste water generated is being reused in power plants or for purposes like cleaning railways. He even cited the example of capturing methane emanating from waste and using it as fuel.