State and World Bank officials at meeting in Ranchi on Saturday. Picture by Prashant Mitra
Ranchi, Feb. 13: State government and World Bank officials met today to prepare a Detailed Project Report (DPR) aimed at ridding the Ganga of pollution and improving its water quality.
The DPR, to be drawn up in the next three months, would be submitted to the government of India, which has turned to the World Bank for help in cleaning up the river. The target for submitting the DPR is end of May.
“More than 80km of the river flows through Jharkhand. The river basin and water in this stretch is heavily polluted. We plan to get rid of this pollution,” said S.K. Choudhary, development commissioner of Jharkhand.
Four states through which the river passes — Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Bengal and Uttarakhand — are already involved in the government of India’s ongoing Ganga River Basin Area (GRBA) Project, which is aided by the World Bank. Now, it’s Jharkhand’s turn to get involved. The World Bank will reportedly employ $ 4 million for the project’s implementation in the state.
Apart from Choudhary, the meeting with World Bank officials was attended by urban development secretary A.K. Singh, forest and environment secretary A.K. Sarkar and MGNREGS commissioner Sunil Kumar Burnwal. Top officials of the forest, mining, state pollution control board, drinking water and sanitation departments were also present.
“The state plans to prepare a long term project — for about a decade — to rid the Ganga of pollution. The DPR would include steps to make the pollution control effort a sustainable one, involving local bodies,” Choudhary said.
In Jharkhand, the river passes through Sahebganj and Rajmahal. Waste generated by towns in Sahebganj, cremation of bodies on the riverbank, industrial and mining waste are the major polluters.
While the population of Sahebganj is about five lakh, that of Raj Mahal is about 50,000.
“The World Bank is committed to helping the country rid the Ganga of pollution and improve its quality of water. We want to know how the state government hopes to achieve that,” said Sanjay Pahuja, a World Bank water specialist. Pahuja also presented a blueprint of the DPR to the state government officials.
World Bank officials asked the state government to ensure a system that could sustain the task of keeping the river pollution free even after the project was over.
“The local bodies have to be involved in the mission and a sustainable structure to carry forward the task keeping the river pollution free has to be put in place during the project period,” Pahuja stressed.