The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) in its 13th Executive Committee Meeting on June 26, 2018 approved two projects – setting up of community toilets and procurement of dustbins for the upcoming Kumbh Mela 2019 in Allahabad.
The setting up of community toilets and procurement of dustbins will be done at an estimated cost of Rs 113 crore and Rs. 3.6 crore, respectively.
The move is aimed at ensuring that the pollutants are not dumped into river Ganga.
Highlights of the Projects for Kumbh Mela 2019
• The first project includes setting up of 27500 Community FRP toilets with septic tank and Pre-Fabricated toilets with septic tanks.
• Besides this, 20000 community FRP urinals will also be set up during the Kumbh Mela.
• Another project calls for deployment of 16000 dustbins for solid waste management in the mela area, along with installation of lining bags in dustbins.
• The projects have been approved keeping in mind the enormous gathering that will take place on the banks of river Ganga for a period of 60-90 days. More than 12 crore people are expected to attend the 2019 Mela, of which, around 10 lakh pilgrims will be stationed in the camps.
• Known as the festival of the sacred Pitcher, Kumbh Mela is held in Allahabad, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nasik in every four years by rotation and is attended by millions of people irrespective of caste, creed or gender.
• The tale of Kumbh Mela includes the battle between Gods and Demons over a pot of Amrit (Nectar of immortality). In the battle between Devas and Asuras, a few drops of this Amrit fell in Haridwar, Allahabad, Ujjain and Nasik and since then Kumbh Mela is organised in these places.
• During the festival, devotees bath or take a dip in a sacred river.
• Followers believe that by bathing in the river, one is freed from sins and is liberated from the cycle of birth and death.
• As a religious festival, Kumbh Mela demonstrates tolerance and inclusiveness which are especially valuable for the contemporary world.
• The knowledge and skills related to Kumbh Mela are transmitted through the Guru-Shishyaparampara (teacher-student relationship) by way of teachings by saints and sadhus to their disciples.
• The festival summarizes the science of astronomy, astrology, spirituality, ritualistic traditions, social and cultural customs, making it extremely rich in knowledge.
Other approvals accorded during the 13th Executive Committee Meeting
Sewage Infrastructure for Moradabad
• The NMCG also approved project for the construction of a 25 MLD Sewage Treatment Plant (STP), among other works, in Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh at an estimated cost of Rs 118.69 crore under Hybrid Annuity based PPP mode.
• It includes developing Interception & Diversion (I&D) structures for 5 drains, I&D network laying, Sewage Pumping Stations including Operation and Maintenance for 15 years etc.
• The project was approved under Namami Gange programme and holds importance as Moradabad city has an old underground sewer network of a total length of 44 km, which does not cover the entire city.
• This project aims to take care of the existing sewerage problems in the town and take care of the resultant sewage pollution in the Ram Ganga.
Moradabad is situated on the banks of Ram Ganga, a tributary of River Ganga. It is an important industrial city, mainly famous for manufacturing of brassware.
Most of the population of the city depends upon cottage industry related with brassware.
Only 6 percent of the households in the city are connected to the sewer lines which have completed their term of usability and are not in a good condition.
Cleaning of Ghats
Following the success of the Ghat Cleaning Project in Varanasi, NMCG approved two more ghat cleaning projects in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand at an estimated cost of Rs 14.26 crore and Rs 15.90 crore respectively.
In Uttarakhand, the project includes cleaning of 72 ghats - 18 major Ghats and 54 other Ghats of Haridwar through manual and mechanised equipments such as scrubber, jetting machines, dustbin, and mobile vans for a period of 3 years.
Haridwar is an ancient city of Uttarakhand with a population of 231338.In addition, the city has an average of 1.6 lakh floating population which makes it an important city for the Namami Gange programme.
Cultivation of Medicinal Plants
• NMCG approved a project for the cultivation of medicinal plants indigenous to the Ganga Basin along the River Ganga in Uttar Pradesh at an estimated cost of Rs 35.46 crore for two years.
• The project, that spans 8 districts and 40 blocks of Uttar Pradesh, envisages covering an area of 2500 hectare.
• Over 7500 farmers are expected to be benefited from the project.
• So far, 8 species of medicinal plants have been identified which will be planted during the project. These are Vach, Kalmegh, Shatavari, Tulsi, Arjuna, Khas-Khas grass, Bel and Sarpgandha.
• The expected outcomes of the project are improved soil health, reduction in water pollution, livelihood and increase in farmers’ income.
Training of the Ganga Mitras
• NMCG also approved a pilot project for training of the Ganga Mitras entitled “Eco-Skills and Capacity Building Training Programme for Ganga Mitras (Task Force at Grass Root Level)” at an estimated cost of Rs 63.07 lakh.
• Once trained, the main task of Ganga Mitras will be to promote eco-tourism, spread public awareness among school children in particular and local people in general; and develop green belts.
• The development of Ganga Mitras by NMCG will be an addition to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) efforts as the arrangement of the Ganga Mitras is also used by WWF that has trained some local people.