New Delhi: A tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed here yesterday between the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), State Program Management Group-Uttarakhand (SPMG-UK) and Indorama Charitable Trust (ICT) to work together for renovation and development of the ghat at Badrinath and ghats and crematoria at Gangotri in Uttarakhand at a total cost of Rs 26.64 crore.
The MoU was signed in the presence of Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Minister of Jal Shakti; UP Singh, Secretary, Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation; Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, Director General, NMCG; Rozy Agarwal, Executive Director (Finance) and other senior officers of the Ministry and NMCG.
The MoU was signed by Ashok Kumar Singh, Executive Director, NMCG; Rajeev Kshetrapal, Director, Indorama Industries, Delhi and Trust Member of Indorama Charitable Trust and Uday Raj Singh, Project Director, SPMG, Govt of Uttarakhand.
Rivers in India have always been considered sacred and the Ganga river, in particular, is identified as the lifeline of India. Pilgrim sites and urban centres have developed along the river. These centres have drawn sustenance from the river and have been thriving over time. Ghats and crematoria are part of the lifestyle of people and pilgrimages to visit the holy river Ganga play a vital role in strengthening the people-river connect.
Gangotri and Badrinath being part of the Char Dham Yatra, are especially important. This MoU is a significant step for improving amenities and sanitation at these holy locations with the underlying spirit of partnership and of private corporates taking responsibility by contributing to the ‘National Mission: Rejuvenation of the sacred river Ganga’.
Speaking on the occasion, Shekhawat, Minister of Jal Shakti, said that this project is being taken up under the Government initiative of ‘Har Kaam Desh Ke Naam’. He said the clean Ganga campaign has been taken up in mission mode since the Prime Minister Narendra Modi led Government assumed office in 2014. Though the Mission is nearing 100% completion, the Namami Ganga Mission is an unending process, he added.
The Minister lauded the Indorama Group for financing the project and hoped this will inspire other entrepreneurs as part of their companies’ Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative. Shekhawat that said for the first time the novel ‘Operation and Maintenance Clause’ has been inserted, which will take care of the project’s upkeep over a period of time. Clean Ganga Mission can succeed only when it becomes a people’s initiative, he added.
The Detailed Project Report (DPR) has been developed by M/S WAPCOS, a Government of India Enterprise. Work is expected to start by March and likely to be completed in 15 months. This MoU is effective for a duration of 7 years. The activities under the project include:
- Construction of bathing ghats and crematoria
- Repair and modernization of existing ghats and crematoria
- Providing public amenities on ghats
- Bank erosion protection works
- Operation & Maintenance (O&M) for 5 years
Badrinath bathing ghat is situated along the bank of river Alaknanda. Through local consultation, the sites of Ghat was identified. The total area to be developed at Badrinath bathing ghat is 2,099 m2. The total cost of the project will be Rs 10.31 crore. Operation and Maintenance for the ghat will be for five years. Development of Badrinath ghat includes the various components like changing room, toilet with bio-digester and reed bed, water spout, chhatri, platform, signages, horticulture work, and railing. The construction of the ghat will be completed in 15 months.
Gangotri ghat is situated along the bank of river Bhagirathi at Gangotri. One bathing ghat and one crematorium to be developed at Gangotri. The total area to be developed at Gangotri ghat is 2,170 m2. The total cost of the project will be Rs. 16.02 crore. Development of ghat includes the various components like changing room, toilet with bio-digester and reed bed, IWC, water spout, chhatri, platform, signages, horticulture work, railing, and solar light pole. The construction of the ghat will be completed in 15 months.
Rejuvenated ghats, along the river, would improve the people-river connect and would also become places that reflect local culture and history. The project will significantly improve the visual aesthetics of the area. For Ganga Rejuvenation, improvement in aesthetics is also an important aspect. River water quality is improved through a reduction in disposal of untreated sewage, and solid waste disposal.
There will be an increase in tourism which will create opportunities for local employment. Prevention of the disposal of un-burnt or partially burnt bodies in the river will reduce the pollution due to the cremation process IWC saves 200 kg of wood per cremation and 1 tree per 3 cremations.
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