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With political candidates contesting the seat in Varanasi, it is clear that only candidates who clearly, strongly and sincerely stand by the issues of Ganga pollution, and who support the 3-point plan for addressing it, can be supported by voters.

An effective model needs to be implemented so that it can be replicated in all river cities. Then Ganga will be clean by 2020 as promised in Mission Clean Ganga.

Candidates need to ensure that:

  1. Not a single drop of sewage flows into Ganga along the bathing ghats of Varanasi.
  1. An appropriate and effective system of sewage capture and treatment that meets the needs of the city is installed, as approved by the Supreme Court of India in 2008.*(details below)
  1. A plan is implemented during the next parliament: 30 years is enough.

We can all see with our own eyes that the sewage continues to pour into River Ganga. The Comptroller Auditor General report tabled in parliament in December 2011 confirms that the river remains critically polluted and that the 29 sewage
treatment plants installed so far are poorly equipped to treat sewage for Indian conditions.

The solution is simple – stop the sewage.

 

In Varanasi such an effective model has already been designed and approved. It features a gravity fed riverside interceptor sewer and an Advanced Integrated Wastewater Ponding System (AIWPS) sewage treatment plant, that, reclaims water and precious nutrients, requires minimal electricity to operate, removes harmful disease causing pathogens and sequesters carbon.

In 2008 the Government of India (GoI) approved a pilot AIWPS system to treat 37MLD (Million litres a day) of sewage in Varanasi and agreed to build a sewage interceptor pipe for 100MLD. The riverside interceptor and AIWPS were also agreed to by the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) in 2010; by Varanasi Nagar Nigam, District Magistrate, Varanasi Mayor, National River Conservation Directorate and the Sankat Mochan Foundation in 1997; and also by a Technical Committee set up by the Environment Ministry in 1998.

The question isn’t about approval, it’s about implementation.

All candidates should pledge to:
1. Construct a riverside gravity fed interceptor that captures the sewage flowing into the river from upstream of Nagwa to downstream of Varuna.
2. Construct the AIWPS sewage treatment pilot plant approved by the Government of India to treat 37MLD (Million litres a day) of sewage at Ramna.
3. Construct an AIWPS sewage treatment plant at Sota that will treat all the remaining sewage flowing into the Ganga River from Varanasi.
4. Coordinate a plan between all the different bodies running Ganga projects in Varanasi, including JNNURM, JICA, UP Jal Nigam, Varanasi Nagar Nigam, Government of India and Sankat Mochan Foundation.

Citizens should ensure that whoever is elected is held accountable to this pledge.

 

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