Cleaning the Ganga and rejuvenating it was one of the foremost projects of the Modi government in 2014. In the seven years since then, the data available with the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) show that out of 341 projects, 147 (or 43 per cent) are completed. A majority of projects are related to sewage infrastructure and 61 out of 157 sewage projects (39 per cent) have been completed so far.

Namami Gange is an integrated conservation and rejuvenation programme initiated by the Central government in June 2014. The programme aims to ensure effective abatement of pollution and conservation of the river Ganga by adopting a comprehensive river basin approach.

Under Namami Gange, a diverse set of interventions for cleaning and rejuvenation of Ganga have been taken up. These include pollution abatement activities including sewage, industrial effluent, solid waste, etc., river-front management, rural sanitation, afforestation, biodiversity conservation, public participation etc.

Sum sanctioned

The government sanctioned ₹29,972 crore for Namami Gange projects. About 80 per cent (₹23,900 crore) of the sanctioned cost is allocated for sewage infrastructure. About 75 sewage projects are in progress while tendering for 19 projects has been completed. About ₹8,144 crore have been utilised for the completion of sewage projects till April 30.

Domestic waste water and industrial effluents are the main sources of water pollution in the river. According to reports, out of an estimated 3,500 MLD ( million litres per day) of sewage about 1,100 MLD is treated and the remaining 2,400 MLD gets discharged untreated into the Ganga. Industrial effluent is estimated to be about 300 MLD. At present, sewage infrastructure works for pollution abatement is under execution on 13 tributaries of Ganga.

Out of the total sanctioned cost of ₹29,972 crore, 37 per cent, that is ₹11,025 crore, has been utilised to complete projects under various heads. Work on 159 projects is in progress. After sewage projects, the construction of ghats and crematoriums is the second priority of the programme. Out of 78 planned projects, 54 have been completed and 20 are under progress. Construction of toilets across Gram Panchayats near Ganga in Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal have received an allocation of ₹1,421 crore. The work is still continuing.