First phase of Ganga cleaning will be completed by October: Bharti

New Delhi: The Centre will implement a four-pronged programme in which as many as 1,600 villages along the Ganga stretch will be made filth free by October, Union Minister Uma Bharti said today.

The government will implement the package in 1,600 village panchayat headquarters along the river banks within the next six months and complete the first phase of Ganga cleaning by October this year, she said.

The second phase will be attained in four years after that in which 6,000 villages will be taken up for the programme, the Water Resources Minister said.

Bharti was speaking on the sidelines of ‘Swachh Ganga-Gramin Sahbhagita’, a national-level consultation programme organised for heads of villages located along the river banks.

The event, considered to be the first attempt to rope in villagers in the ‘Clean Ganga’ mission, saw participation of around 1,200 panchayat heads.

“There is a need to take care of four things for cleaning villages along the Ganga. Those are…where will sewage water go How to divert drains flowing into the river.

“How to convert waste generating from the villages into fertilizers, and how to generate employment by cultivating medicinal plants along the river,” she said.

The Water Resources Ministry also inked MoUs with HRD, Shipping, Rural Development, Sports, Tourism, Ayush and Youth Affairs and Sports Ministries for carrying out various activities under the ‘Namami Gange’ programme.

As per the MoUs, all institutes affiliated to HRD along the river stretch will join the mission and old water bodies located along the Ganga and the Yamuna will be restored.

Government is also planning to initiate organic farming along Ganga banks to generate jobs for local youth.

Bharti said several celebrities and renowned personalities, including spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and film actor Amitabh Bachchan, have expressed desire to be part of the mission.

Union ministers Nitin Gadkari, Smriti Irani, Birender Singh, Sarbananda Sonowal, Mahesh Sharma and Sanwar Lal Jat also attended the event.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat, eco-activist Baba Balbir Singh Seechewal and ayurveda exponent Acharya Balkrishna also attended the event, along with around 1,200 panchayat heads.