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Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
10-July-2006 12:41 IST
Ganga Action Plan - significant difference to water quality

BIO-CHEMICAL OXIGEN DEMAND – BOD VALUES IMPROVED

The First River Action Plan i.e. the Ganga Action Plan was taken up by the Ministry of Environment & Forests in 1985.  Since then its scope has increased to all the major rivers of the country and the programme was further extended to other major rivers of the country in 1995 under the National River Conservation Plan - NRCP.

Presently, the Centrally sponsored scheme of National River Conservation Plan - NRCP is under implementation in 160 towns along polluted stretches of 34 rivers spread over 20 States at an approved cost of Rs.4736 crore.  The major rivers being Ganga, Yamuna, Gomti, Damodar, Satluj, Krishna, Cauveri, Godavari etc. among others.  The objective of NRCP is to check pollution in rivers through implementation of the following pollution abatement schemes to bring the river to bathing quality standards :

Interception and diversion works to capture the raw sewage flowing into the river through open drains and divert them for treatment;

Sewage treatment plants for treating the diverted sewage;

Low cost sanitation works to prevent open defecation on river banks;

Electric and/or improved wood crematoria to conserve the use of wood and help in ensuring proper cremation of bodies brought to the burning ghat;

River front development works such as improvement of bathing ghats, etc. and

Other miscellaneous works like Afforestation, Public Participation etc.

All these works are done on the banks of rivers in the major towns and cities along identified polluted stretches of rivers across the country.  Development and maintenance of a proper sewerage system in towns and cities is primarily the responsibility of the respective State Governments and Urban Local Bodies.  The prevention and control of industrial pollution is being taken care of by the Pollution Control Boards. 

POLLUTION ABATEMENT IN RIVERS

The works of started with the launching of the Ganga Action Plan (GAP) Phase-I in the year 1985.   Subsequently, GAP Phase-II  was initiated which included the works on the major tributaries of the river Ganga, namely,  Yamuna, Gomti and Damodar.  The Plan was further broad based to cover other national rivers under the aegis of National River Conservation Plan (NRCP) in the year 1995.  The programme which began with pollution abatement works in the river Ganga  in 1985, thus, presently covers 34 rivers with works undertaken in 160 towns spread in 20 States.

Ganga Action Plan Phase I  (GAP I) was the first attempt of Government to clean the river Ganga.   The plan was formulated on the basis of a comprehensive survey of the Ganga basin carried out by the CPCB in 1984.  According to the CPCB survey, the total sewage generated from 25 Class I towns in 1985 was estimated as 1340 million litres per day (mld).  Out of this, due to resource crunch, pollution abatement works corresponding to 882 mld only (65% at that time) were taken up under GAP Phase I.   To accomplish this task, a total of 261 projects of pollution abatement covering these 25 towns in three States were sanctioned at a cost of Rs. 462 crore..  Of these, 259 projects have been completed and the remaining two projects of sewage treatment plants in Bihar (STPs at Patna & Munger) are in the final stage of completion.  These projects have been delayed due to litigation and the State Government has been asked to complete the same at the earliest.  The GAP I was declared closed in 31st March, 2000.  The completion cost of GAP Phase I including the cost of these two works is Rs.452 crore out of which an expenditure of Rs.433 crores has been incurred by the State Governments.  Under this plan, a sewage treatment capacity of 865 mld has been created.

ACHIEVEMENTS OF GAP -  I

As a consequence of completion of works under GAP I, the Ganga river water quality has shown improvement over the pre-GAP period water quality due to the schemes completed under GAP I.  The summer average values (March to June) for Dissolved Oxygen (DO) and Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) for 1986 and 2005 are as under:-

WATER QUALITY DATA FOR RIVER GANGA

(Summer Average i.e. March-June)

S.No.

Station/Location     

1986

2005

 

 

DO (mg/l)

BOD(mg/l)

DO(mg/l)

BOD(mg/l)

1.

Rishikesh

8.1

1.7

8.50

1.00

2.

Hardwar D/s

8.1

1.8

8.10

1.40

3.

Garhmukteshwar

7.8

2.2

7.80

2.00

4.

Kannauj U/S

7.2

5.5

8.50

1.70

5.

Kannauj D/S

NA

NA

7.60

4.50

6.

Kanpur U/S

7.2

7.2

6.20

4.30

7.

Kanpur D/S

6.7

8.6

4.70

5.40

8.

Allahabad U/S *

6.4

11.4

8.50

5.50

9.

Allahabad D/S *

6.6

15.5

8.40

3.10

10.

Varanasi U/S *

5.6

10.1

8.60

2.00

11.

Varanasi D/S *

5.9

10.6

8.30

2.30

12.

Patna U/S

8.4

2.0

7.44

2.00

13.

Patna D/S

8.1

2.2

8.00

2.20

14.

Rajmahal

7.8

1.8

7.40

1.80

15.

Palta

NA

NA

7.00

3.10

16.

Uluberia

NA

NA

5.40

2.60

Bathing Water Quality Criteria: DO equal to or more than 5.0 mg/l

                                                   BOD equal to or less than 3.0 mg/l

*--->Summer averages (March '05)

            In this connection, the graphs showing water quality improvement of river Ganga at major locations since the inception of Ganga Action Plan are given in Annexure-I (graphs available on the PIB website alongwith the press release.)  The graphs shown are for the BOD values showing the change between the period 1986 to 2005.  The water quality monitoring has been done by independent reputed institutes like Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. (BHEL), Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur,  Indian Toxicological Research Centre (ITRC), Lucknow, etc.  It may be observed that inspite of a phenomenal increase in population in the urban centers located upstream on the river Ganga, there is a clear improvement in terms of BOD of the river during this period at Kannauj, Kanpur, Allahabad, Varanasi & Patna.  At Kanpur the values although decreasing are yet to achieve the desired standards because of the untackled pollution load remaining there. 

            Cost Benefit Analysis Of Ganga Action Plan Phase-I.

On the direction of the Planning Commission of India, a Cost Benefit Analysis of  GAP Phase-I was carried out by  Harvard Institute of International Development in 1995-97, in collaboration with reputed national institutes. The main findings of the study given in the year 2000 are as under :-

·         The broad conclusion of the study is that in spite of its many shortcomings, the GAP I has delivered significant benefits to India. The water quality model of the river Ganga was used to estimate the Ganga river quality during 1995 and beyond, both with and without  the Ganga Action Plan Phase I.  The model showed that in 1995, a total stretch of river of about 437 km between Rishikesh,UP and Rajmahal,Bihar still has biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) levels above the permissible limit of 3.0 mg/l.  The problem stretch mainly lies between Kannauj and Varanasi.  However, without GAP this stretch would have been about 740 km and more than 100 km would have exceeded 10 mg/l.  Dissolved Oxygen (DO) levels would have been below 5.0 mg/l for a short stretch near Kanpur.  Hence, it can be seen that GAP I has made a significant difference to water quality.

·         Both users and non-users have benefited & the result is that the real rate of return on Phase-I is well above the 10% required of public sector projects. 

·         It would be unreasonable for a developing country like India to expect to achieve in 10-15 years what it has taken countries with many more resources over 30 years to achieve particularly for much smaller rivers than Ganga. Second, the costs involved in other river cleaning-up programmes have been enormous, and given the similar type of objectives with relatively larger scale operations, the cost earmarked for the GAP is much smaller. Thus, in terms of both the cost and time taken, GAP compares favourably with those of the other major rivers of the world like Thames, Rhine and Danube.  A comparative statement is given below :-

PARAMETERS

THAMES

RHINE

DANUBE

GANGA

Length (in Km)

245

1320

2857

2525

Population (in million)

-

50

86

500

Restoration Time (in years)

30

50

13+

13+

Restoration Cost (in Rs. Billion)

5.0

1940.0

125.0

11.2

Ganga Action Plan Phase II

Since GAP Phase I did not cover the pollution load of Ganga fully, GAP Phase II, which includes plans for Yamuna, Gomti and Damodar besides Ganga, was approved in stages between 1993 and 1996.   The present approved cost of Ganga river under GAP Phase II is Rs.652.89 crore against which an amount of Rs. 240.72 crore has been released to implementing agencies.  Out of a total of 268 sanctioned schemes, 79 schemes have been completed so far and the balance schemes are in progress.  This plan is being implemented in 60 towns covering five States and 780 mld of pollution load is proposed to be tackled under this plan out of which a sewage treatment capacity of about 26 mld. has already been created.

Pollution load in river Ganga 

            As per the current estimates and study done by CPCB, 2538 mld of sewage is discharged to the Ganga river from various Class I & Class II towns located along its banks.  Out of this, a treatment capacity of 865 mld. has already been created under GAP I and 780 mld capacity is to be created under GAP II.  Due to shortage of funds, schemes for creation of the balance capacity of sewage treatment which constitutes about 35% of the total requirement is yet to be created. 

            Meanwhile, as the availability of funds in the X Plan was inadequate even to complete the existing approved schemes under NRCP which does not cover the untackled pollution load in river Ganga as mentioned in 2.1.5 above, technical assistance was sought from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to prepare Master Plan for major towns falling in river Ganga.  The details of the same are as under.

Technical Assistance from outside agencies

Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has provided technical assistance for the Development Study relating to “Water Quality Management Plan for Ganga” with focus along stretches of four towns namely, Kanpur, Lucknow, Allahabad and Varanasi.  The JICA Study Team/Consultants selected by JICA for carrying out the study started their work from March, 2003 and completed it in August/September, 2005.  The study basically envisaged formulation of the Master Plans and Feasibility Studies for the sewerage (including sewage treatment) and non-sewerage components for the four towns.  These Master Plans and Feasibility Studies have been prepared by the JICA Study Team in close collaboration and consultation with UP Government and its concerned agencies in the four towns as well as taking into account the work already done and presently being done in these towns under NRCP.

The JICA Study Team had submitted the Master Plan and Feasibility studies report for the sewerage and non-sewerage works in Varanasi town in the first phase during 2004-05 based upon which the JBIC have signed an agreement with the Government of India for providing loan for taking up the pollution abatement schemes of the river Ganga in this town at an estimated cost of Rs.540 crore  (13.248 billion Yen).  The final Feasibility Study Reports  for the remaining three towns of Allahabad, Kanpur & Lucknow, after incorporating the comments of the concerned organizations, have been received from JICA.  The estimated cost of GAP-II projects in the three towns is Rs.1100 crore (Allahabad-Rs.305 crore, Kanpur-Rs.425 crore & Lucknow-Rs.375 crore).  The project proposals for these three towns are included in the JBIC Rolling Plan package for financial year 2006-07.

KP/SR

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