Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated 6 mega development projects in Uttarakhand under the Namami Gange Mission today through video conference.
He also inaugurated the Ganga Avalokan Museum, the first of its kind on the River Ganga at Haridwar. He released a book “Rowing Down the Ganges” and the new logo for the Jal Jeevan Mission. The Prime Minister also unveiled the ‘Margadarshika for Gram Panchayats and Paani Samitis under Jal Jeevan Mission’ (Guidelines for the Village Panchayats and Water Committees) on the occasion.
Speaking on the occasion the Prime Minister said the Jal Jeevan Mission aims at providing every rural household in the country with piped-water connection. Modi said that the new logo of the Mission shall continue to inspire the need to save every drop of water.
Referring to the Margadarshika, the Prime Minister said that they are equally important for the Gram Panchayats, people living in rural areas as well as for the Government machinery.
Describing the book “Rowing Down the Ganges” he said it explains in details how the River Ganges stands as a glowing symbol of our Culture, Faith and Heritage.
He highlighted the importance of keeping the River Ganga clean as it plays a significant role in sustaining the lives of about 50 percent of the country’s population from its origin in Uttarakhand till West Bengal.
He termed the Namami Gange Mission as the largest integrated river conservation mission which not only aims at the cleanliness of River Ganga but also focuses on comprehensive upkeep of the River. Prime Minister said this new thinking and approach had made the River Ganga return back to life. Had the old methods been adopted, the situation would have been equally bad today. Old methods lacked public participation and foresight.
The Prime Minister said the government moved forward with a four pronged strategy to achieve its objective.
First- started laying a network of Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) to prevent the waste water from flowing into the Ganges.
Second, The STPs were built by keeping in mind the demands for the next 10 – 15 years.
Third – By making around hundred big towns/cities and five thousand villages along the River Ganga Open Defecation Free (ODF).
And Fourth – By making an all-out effort to stop the pollution in the tributaries of River Ganga.
The PM highlighted the fact that under Namami Gange, projects worth more than Rs 30,000 Crores are either in progress or have been completed. He pointed out that due to these projects the sewage treatment capacity of Uttarakhand has increased 4 times in the last 6 years.
The Prime Minister listed the efforts taken to close more than 130 drains in Uttarakhand from flowing into the River Ganga. He referred specially to the Chandreshwar Nagar drain which turned as an eyesore to visitors and rafters at Muni Ki Reti, in Rishikesh. He applauded the closing of the drain and the construction of a four storied STP at Muni Ki Reti.
Prime Minister said that as it was experienced by the pilgrims at Prayagraj Kumbh, the visitors to Haridwar Kumbh would also experience the clean and pure status of the River Ganga at Uttarakhand. Narendra Modi referred to the beautification of the hundreds of ghats at Ganges and the development of a modern riverfront at Haridwar.
Prime Minister said the Ganga Avalokan Museum would be a special attraction to pilgrims and it would further enhance the understanding of the heritage associated with Ganga.
The Prime Minister said apart from the cleanliness of the Ganges, the Namami Gange is focussing on development of the economy and environment of the entire Gangetic belt. He said the Government has made comprehensive plans to promote Organic farming and Ayurvedic farming.
Prime Minister said that the project would also strengthen the Mission Dolphin which was announced on the 15th of August this year.
The Prime Minister said owing to fragmentation of work- on an important subject like water- into various ministries and departments, led to lack of clear guidelines & coordination. As a result, problems related to irrigation and drinking water continued to persist. He lamented that even after so many years of independence, piped drinking water has not reached more than 15 crore households in the country.
He said the Ministry of Jal Shakti was formed to bring in a synergy and give impetus to dealing with these challenges. He said the ministry is now engaged in the mission of ensuring access to piped drinking water to every house in the country.
Today, about 1 lakh households are being provided piped water supply connections every day under the Jal Jeevan Mission. He said drinking water connections have been provided to 2 crore families of the country in just 1 year.
He lauded the Government of Uttarakhand for providing drinking water connections to more than 50 thousand families even during the period of Corona in the last 4-5 months.
The Prime Minister said unlike the previous programmes, Jal Jeevan Mission adopts a bottom to top approach, where the users and Paani Samitis (Water Committees) in the villages envision the whole project from its implementation to maintenance and operation. He said the mission has also ensured that at least 50% of the members of the water committee would be women. He said the Mardarshika Guidelines released today will guide the members of the Water Committee and Gram Panchayats in taking the right decisions.
Prime Minister said a special 100-day campaign is being launched on 2nd Oct this year under Jal Jeevan Mission to ensure drinking water connection to every school and Anganwadi in the country.
The Prime Minister also said the Government has brought in major reforms recently for the farmers, the industrial labour and in the health sector.