River doctors from the west. India seeks help


After entering into agreements with Germany, Israel and the U.K. it is safe to assume that India is looking for assistance from the west to help revive its suffering rivers.

The Ministry of Water Resources (MoWR) is inking the deals due to dire conditions with water shortages and pollution in key rivers. The outreach to  Germany, Israel and the United Kingdom is more about how they cleaned and revived key rivers as well as use technology to manage drought and used sparse water.

After MoWR signed an agreement with German International Cooperation (GIZ) of Germany to help with cleaning the Ganga, the German Ambassador Martin Ney said, “Germany’s ultimate goal is to bring back ‘Mother Ganga’ in India to its pristine condition as it has been done successfully for ‘Father Rhine’ in Germany.”

The project, ‘Namani Ganga’ aims to clean and restore the flow of Ganga by 2020. The project will include 52 sewage treatment and effluent treatment plants (STPs) which will have to be developed by public sector undertakings. Skimmers will be used at 11 places to draw the muck out of the river stream. Germany will look to provide technical consultancy to deal with industrial effluents in Uttarakhand, before they are emptied out in the river. The flagship project of the NDA will cost around Rs 30,000 crore and Germany will stump Rs 22.2 crore to the endeavour.

“We won’t be buying technologies because in many cases we know what is to be done but their experience in cleaning their own rivers is what’s most important,” Shashi Shekhar, secretary MoWR, told the Hindu newspaper. He said similar agreements were in place with the U.K. for expertise in reviving aquatic life at the head of Ganga. In the case of Israel, technologies for water purification and filtration were likely to be shared. Many Indian companies already use desalination technologies sourced from Israel but officials said there was much more scope for further engagement.

Hobbled by pollution and severe water shortage, the Namami Ganga plan is set to be the government’s showpiece project aiming to nurse back to health a river that has been credited for nursing practically Indian civilization.  Failure, one would imagine, is not an option.


Twitter handles: @giz_gmbh, @swachhbharat

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