NEW DELHI: Going full steam ahead with the Namami Gange project, the Modi government will this week kickstart an effort to bring ‘visible change’ to the Ganga waters. Intensive river surface cleaning is set to begin at ten identified cities along the banks of Ganga backed with a Bhuvan Ganga mobile application.
This ISRO-backed India specific GIS tool will ensure real-time and public monitoring of river surface pollution on ground situations. The government will invite global tenders this week for river surface cleaning at ten chosen cities — Haridwar, Varanasi, Allahabad, Kanpur, Mathura & Vrindavan, Garhmukteshwar, Patna, Kolkata, Sahibgunj and Nabadwip.
The idea is to have floating debris collected and cleaned off the Ganga river surface to ensure people can see and feel a visible difference in the cleanliness levels of the river waters. A complete work package including river surface cleaning, ghat cleaning and drain-river confluence for ten priority locations is being prepared by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG). River surface cleaning boats, trash skimmer machines and trash booms will be pushed into service at all these cities to arrest floating material and tackle river surface pollution.
Aerators will be plied into action at river ghats to keep the gathering moss away — steps identified as those that will also convince the masses that the Ganga cleaning project is taking off in a real and visible manner, officials in the ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation told ET.
The ministry has also written to the Central Pollution Control Board to install real-time monitors at 118 locations on Ganga where a nallah meets the river (drain-river confluence) to ensure that the cleaning is actually taking place and water quality is maintained. 10 of these have already been started on pilot basis.
That apart, the government is set to launch a Bhuvan Ganga app whereby real-time images of the Ganga can be captured by the public through smartphones and uploaded right away to check for any river surface pollution. Once the image is uploaded and received by the central database, the contractors in charge of the surface cleaning at that particular location will be held accountable in case of laxity.
The Rs 20,000-crore Namami Gange project that was approved by the Union Cabinet last week specially focussed on ‘strengthening public participation’ and improved inter-ministerial and centre-state coordination for the cleaning of the Ganga.
Part of the public participation element will be the Ganga Volunteer Corps – another soon-to-belaunched initiative to channelise public volunteer services for cleaning of ghats and generating awareness. The Nirmal Ganga Bhagidaari project will see NGOs being involved in Ganga cleaning.