Ganga Action Plan Phase - I

The activities of the Ganga Action Plan Phase-I, initiated in 1985, were continued. During the year, the Steering Committee of the National River Conservation Authority (NRCA) under the Chairmanship of Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests met twice to review the progress of the GAP and other on-going schemes relating to river cleaning. The Monitoring Committee of the NRCA under the Chairmanship of Member In charge, Environment, Planning Commission met twice to review the progress of various schemes and their impact on the river water quality. The Research Committee of the National River Conservation Directorate (NRCD) under the Chairmanship of eminent Scientist, Dr. M.S. Swaminathan, held one meeting to review the research activities under the Action Plan. The National River Conservation Authority under the Chairmanship of the Prime Minister met once to review the river cleaning programmes.


Progress of Implementation


Out of the 261 schemes of pollution abatement sanctioned at a total cost of Rs. 462.04 crores under GAP Phase - I, 253 schemes have been completed till 31.3.1998. The remaining schemes are expected to be completed shortly. The State-wise distribution of schemes sanctioned and completed is given in Table - 14. The total expenditure incurred on the implementation of the programme till 31.3.1998 is Rs. 449.21 crores.

Table 14

Statewise and typewise distribution of schemes sanctioned and completed (as on 31.3.1998)

Type of schemes                 Uttar Pradesh       Bihar       West Bengal     Total
1.   Sewage Interception             40               17            30            87
     & Diversion                    (40)             (17)          (31)          (88)
2.   Sewage Treatment                12                3            14            28
     Plants                         (13)              (7)          (15)          (35)
3.   Low Cost                        14                7            22            43
     Sanitation                     (14)              (7)          (22)          (43)
4.   Electric                         3                8            16            27
     Crematorium                     (3)              (8)          (17)          (28)
5.   River Front                      8                3            24            35
     Facilities                      (8)              (3)          (24)          (35)
6.   Other schemes                   28                3             1            32
                                    (28)              (3)           (1)          (32)
Total                               105               41           107           253
                                   (106)             (45)         (110)         (261)

(Figures in brackets indicate number of schemes sanctioned and figures out-side indicate number of schemes completed).


Impact on River Water Quality

Out of the total sewage generation of 1340 mld from 25 class I towns (as of 1985), it was targetted to intercept, divert and treat 873 mld of sewage under GAP Phase-I. As against this target, capacity to treat 728 mld has been commissioned so far. Since the diverted sewage is mostly utilised for sewage farming, a total quantity of 800 mld of sewage is being prevented from being discharged into the river.

The water quality of river Ganga is monitored regularly at 27 locations from Rishikesh in Uttar Pradesh to Uluberia in West Bengal by reputed academic institutions such as Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, Patna University and Central Inland Capture Fisheries Research Institute, West Bengal. As a result of the schemes completed under GAP Phase-I, the water quality of river Ganga has shown improvement in respect of the Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) which is a major indicator of pollution. The summer average values of two important river water quality parameters viz: Dissolved Oxygen (DO) and Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) for some of the important monitoring stations on river Ganga is given in Table-15.

Table - 15

Summer average values for water quality on main stem of River Ganga

Stations            Dissolved Oxygen    Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD)
                         (mg/l)                        (mg/l)
                    1986      1997              1986      1997
Rishikesh           3.1       8.9               1.7       1.1
Kanpur U/S          7.2       7.5               7.2       3.1
Kanpur D/S          6.7       5.6               8.6       5.4
Allahabad U/S       5.4       7.4              11.4       3.3
Allahabad D/S       6.6       7.6              15.5       2.1
Varanasi U/S        5.6       8.8              10.3       2.4
Varanasi D/S        5.9       8.7              10.6       3.1
Patna U/S           8.4       7.5               2.0       2.0
Patna D/S           8.1       7.1               2.2       1.3
Standards :    DO - 5 mg/l (minimum); BOD - 3 mg/l (maximum)

Note : U/S stands for upstream and D/S stands for downstream


Evaluation of GAP

A comprehensive evaluation of GAP by independent agencies (universities and R&D institutions) was undertaken in April, 1995. The conclusions and recommendations of this evaluation have been used to bring about improvement in the subsequent Ganga Action Plan Phase-II and the National River Conservation Plan Schemes. A cost benefit analysis of GAP has been undertaken with the assistance of the Department for International Development (DFID) of U.K.


Operation and Maintenance

The provision of Rs. 25.30 crores made towards the Central share for operation and maintenance of major GAP assets has now been fully utilised. With this, the responsibility of operation and maintenance of assets rests solely with the concerned State Government.

Reports received from the monitoring agencies indicate that the operation and maintenance of assets is not satisfactory in Bihar due to the inability of the State Government to provide adequate funds for this purpose. In the State of U.P., the impact of the GAP on river water quality is not fully realised due to (a) inadequate municipal infrastructure for maintenance of sewerage systems and (b) erratic power supply for operation of assets like pumping stations, treatment plants, electric crematoria etc.

Operation and maintenance of assets is generally satisfactory in West Bengal.

In order to bring improvements in the implementation and operation and maintenance of the Ganga Action Plan the following steps have been initiated:


National River Conservation Plan including Ganga Action Plan Phase-II

Through a Government Resolution dated 5.12.1996 the Ganga Action Plan, Phase II has been merged with the National River Conservation Plan (NRCP). Thus, the expanded NRCP covers 141 towns located along 22 inter-State rivers in 14 States. The total cost of the schemes is Rs. 2053.26 crores. During the 8th Five Year Plan, NRCP and GAP Phase - II were Centrally Sponsored Schemes with 50:50 cost sharing between theCentral Government and the concerned State Governments. The NRCA at its IX meeting held on 12.7.1997 has decided to convert NRCP into a 100% funded Centrally Sponsored Scheme w.e.f. 1.4.97 (IX Plan). The operation and maintenance costs will be the responsibility of the State Governments.


River Yamuna

The scheme of cleaning the river Yamuna was approved in April, 1993. The present estimated cost of the scheme is Rs. 479.56 crores spread over 21 towns in three States namely; Haryana (12), Delhi (1) and UP (8). Projects amounting to nearly Rs. 403 crores have been approved and an amount of Rs. 196 crores towards the Central share has been released to the State Governments. The scheme is likely to be completed by March, 1999. External assistance of 17.77 billion Yen is available for this scheme from the Overseas Economic Cooperation Fund of Japan. Upto the end of March 1998, out of 185 schemes proposed, 131 schemes have been sanctioned.


River Gomti

This scheme was also approved in April, 1993 at an estimated cost of Rs. 64 crores. The works are proposed in three towns namely; Lucknow, Jaunpur and Sultanpur in U.P. Works in Jaunpur and Sultanpur, which are funded by internal resources have begun. Projects amounting to Rs. 14.5 crores have been approved. External assistance amounting to U.K. Pounds four million from the Department for International Development (DFID), U.K. was available for certain emergency Phase I works and for preparation of the Master Plan for Lucknow. The Master Plan was expected to be finalised by middle of 1997-98 on the basis of which, funding the second phase covering the major works of Lucknow were to be considered by the DFID. However, the DFID has now informed that they are not willing to finance the Gomti river cleaning programme at Lucknow. The works at Lucknow, therefore, have to be funded from internal resources. The Government of UP has been requested to forward the revised cost estimates for fresh approval of the Gomti Action Plan for Lucknow at current price levels.


River Damodar

The scheme of pollution abatement of river Damodar was approved by the Government in October, 1996 at an estimated cost of Rs. 24.54 crores. The works are proposed in eight towns in Bihar and four towns in West Bengal. Preparatory work on the scheme has begun. An amount of Rs. 24.05 lakhs has been released to the concerned State Governments till the end of March, 1998 and Rs. 29 crores to other Institutions.


Main Stem of Ganga

Under this component, works amounting to Rs. 648.05 crores have been approved for 59 towns. These works have been approved in different phases starting from July, 1995 to October, 1996. The works also cover a Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) for 540 odd tanneries of Calcutta to be relocated under the directions of the Supreme Court. An amount of Rs. 11.02 crores has been released to the State Governments so far,towards Central share for preparation and implementation of the scheme.


Other Rivers covered under NRCP

Under this scheme, approved by the Government in July, 1995, pollution abatement works in 46 towns located along 18 inter-State rivers in 10 States have been taken up. The sanctioned cost of these works is Rs. 772.09 crores. The list of States along with the names of the inter- State rivers and the number of towns covered under the programme is given in Table - 16.

Table - 16

The list of States along with names of inter-State rivers and number of towns to be covered under National River Conservation Plan

S.No.     Name of State         Name of River(s)          No. of towns
1.        Andhra Pradesh        Godavari                        4
2.        Bihar                 Subarnarekha                    3
3.        Gujarat               Sabarmati                       1
4.        Karnataka             Tunga (Krishna)
                                Tungabhadra (Krishna)
                                Bhadra (Krishna)
                                Cauvery                         8
5.        Madhya Pradesh        Khan
                                Chambal                        11
6.        Maharashtra           Krishna
                                Godavari                        4
7.        Orissa                Mahanadi
                                Brahmani                        4
8.        Punjab                Satluj                          4
9.        Rajasthan             Chambal                         2
10.       Tamil Nadu            Cauvery                         5

Projects amounting to Rs. 145 crores have been approved and Central share amounting to Rs. 40.87 crores has been released to the different States. The scheme is likely to be completed in 10 years.


Industrial Pollution


Mined area regeneration at Lambidhar before and after 6 years

As of March 1997, out of the 68 grossly polluting industries identified under the Ganga Action Plan Phase - I, effluent treatment plants had been installed in 55 units and 13 industries were closed down. Continuous monitoring of these industries for their effluent quality indicated that as of November 1997, 45 of the grossly polluting industries are operating their effluent treatment plants satisfactorily; the remaining 23 units have been closed down.

With the initiation of the NRCP, the process of identification of grossly polluting units discharging effluents into rivers and lakes has been undertaken. Directions have been issued by the Central Pollution Control Board to all the State Pollution Control Boards and Pollution Control Committees to provide the lists of grossly polluting industries along with the status of effluent treatment by them. Directions were also given to issue closure notices to the defaulting industries if they do not set up the required treatment facilities within a period of three months.

Under the Indo-Dutch Sanitation Project, a common conveyance and treatment system continued to be operated for about 175 tanneries at Jajmau in Kanpur. This has helped in preventing the discharge of untreated/partly treated effluent of tanneries into the river. A common effluent treatment plant for a cluster of tanneries is also proposed to be set up in Calcutta under the Ganga Action Plan Phase-II.


Water Quality Monitoring

Besides continuing the water quality monitoring of the rivers Ganga, Yamuna, Gomati, Hindon and Western Yamuna canal under Ganga Action Plan Phase I and II, water quality monitoring has also been initiated for the rivers Satluj in Punjab and Betwa, Tapti, Khan, Kshipra, Narmada, Wainganga and Chambal in Madhya Pradesh, Godavari in Andhra Pradesh and Cauvery in Tamil Nadu. Suitable institutions for taking up the water quality monitoring in other rivers covered under NRCP have been identified and the process of monitoring shall be taken up shortly. All the participating laboratories involved in water quality monitoring have been subjected to Analytical Quality Control (AQC) by theCentral Pollution Control Board. The results of the two rounds of AQC were discussed in a workshop held in December, 1996. The institutes/universities carrying out the water quality monitoring have been entrusted with the additional responsibility of evaluating the performance of the sewage treatment plants set up under the Ganga Action Plan Phase-I.


Resource Recovery

The programme lays due emphasis on maximisation of resource recovery from sewage treatment to improve its sustainability. These include utilisation of biogas for co-generation of power, sale of treated sewage and sludge as bio-fertiliser for agriculture. Pisiculture is carried out in most of the stabilisation ponds constructed under GAP.


Public Participation

Public participation in the schemes of GAP are sought to be achieved by creating awareness through exhibitions, seminars, padyatras, shramdans and involvement of students and NGOs. Citizen s Monitoring Committees have been constituted in the States to maximise local participation in the programme. A reputed NGO has been commissioned to develop an effective model to ensure greater involvement of public in the programme. Guidelines for public participation are under preparation. All the river action plan States have been asked to constitute Citizen s Monitoring Committees in each river action plan town for effective implementation of the river cleaning programmes. The governments have also been asked to constitute Project Monitoring Committees under Divisional Commissioners in Action Plan Towns. These are aimed at ensuring involvement of local bodies and public in the programme from the conceptual stage itself.


National Lake Conservation Plan (NLCP)

To focus attention on urban wetlands threatened by pollution and other anthropogenic activities, State Governments were requested to identify lakes that could be included in the National Lake Conservation Plan. The activities of the NLCP include formulation of perspective plans for conservation based on resource survey using remote sensing technology and geographical information system, research and developmental studies on bio-diversity and related ecological matters, prevention of pollution from point and non-point sources, treatment of catchments, desilting and weed control.

A total of 11 lakes were identified for immediate conservation plan on the basis of pollution status and aquatic health of the lake. During the first meeting of the NLCP held on 26th June, 1997, all the participating State Government officials were asked to prepare pre-feasibility reports (PFRs) at current schedule rates. Revised PFRs have been received for all the concerned lakes except Powai in Maharashtra, Hussain Sagar in Andhra Pradesh and Udaipur in Rajasthan.

While the Planning Commission has approved the NLCP for the IX Five Year Plan, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved in principle the proposal to take up the scheme for conservation of Dal Lake. The CCEA has indicated that it will consider NLCP in the light of a firm tie up of external financial assistance for the scheme.A few projects relating to conservation of lakes have therefore been posed for foreign assistance to World Bank, Netherlands government, OECF, Swedish Government, Austria and UNESCO. OECF funding is available in respect of Bhoj Wetland in Madhya Pradesh amounting to Rs. 210 crores.


National Afforestation and Eco-Development Board

The National afforestation and Eco-Development Board (NAEB) was constituted in the Ministry of Environment and Forests in August, 1992. Prior to this the National Wastelands Development Board (NWDB) was functioning in the Ministry with the mandate of regeneration of forest as well as non-forest lands in the country. In 1992, NWDB was transferred to the newly created Department of Wastelands Development in the Ministry of Rural Development, with the revised mandate of regenerating degraded non-forest and private lands, while NAEB was given the task of promoting afforestation, tree planting, ecological restoration and eco-development activities in the country, with special attention to degraded forest areas and lands adjoining forest areas, national parks, sanctuaries and other protected areas, as well as ecologically fragile areas like the Western Himalayas, Aravallis, Western Ghats, etc.

The National Forest Policy, 1988, lays specific emphasis, inter alia, on securing the participation of local communities in the management and development of forests, while meeting the subsistence needs, particularly of fuelwood and fodder, of these communities to achieve sustainable environmental development as well as forest conservation, NAEB has evolved schemes for promoting afforestation and management strategies, which help the States in developing specific afforestation and eco-development packages for augmenting biomass production through the participatory planning process of Joint Forest Management.

A brief description of the schemes operated by NAEB is given below:


Integrated Afforestation and Eco-Development Project Scheme

This Scheme is intended to promote afforestation and development of degraded forests by adopting an integrated approach to the development of land and other related natural resources on watershed basis through the micro-planning process. The scheme is 100% Centrally Sponsored. The total Eighth Plan allocation for the scheme was Rs. 200 crores and expenditure incurred during the Eighth Plan was Rs. 202.72 crores, leading to coverage of over 2,98,981 hectares. Rs. 19.20 crores were released during 1997-98. The budgetary allocation for 1998-99 is Rs. 33 crores.


Area Oriented Fuelwood and Fodder Projects Scheme

This scheme is implemented with a view to augment production of fuelwood and fodder in the 229 identified fuelwood deficient districts of the country to meet the needs of the communities. The scheme is implemented on 50:50 cost sharing basis with the State Governments. The Eighth Plan allocation for the scheme was Rs. 158 crores and the expenditure incurred during this period was Rs. 154.19 crores (Central share). A total area of 4,01,649 hectares has been covered during the plan period. Rs. 29.58 crores were released as Central Share during 1997-98. The budgetary allocation for 1998-99 is Rs. 40 crores.


Non-Timber Forest Produce Scheme

This scheme provides for financial assistance to the State Governments for increasing production of Non-Timber Forest Produce (NTFP) including Medicinal Plants. It has a special focus on tribal population for whom NTFP is an important source of livelihood. It is a 100% Centrally Sponsored scheme. The total Eighth Plan allocation for the scheme was Rs. 55 crores. The expenditure incurred during the same period was Rs. 56.48 crores, while the total area covered during the plan period was 1,07,602 hectares. Rs. 7.50 crores were released during 1997-98 and the budgetary allocation for 1998-99 is Rs. 11 crores.


Implementation of IAEP, AOFFP and NTFP Schemes during the 9th Plan

Four key elements are being emphasized in the above three schemes during the Ninth Five Year Plan. These are: Promotion of Joint Forest Management, Microplanning, Incorporation of Improved Technologies, where necessary, during the nursery raising/plantation, and Monitoring and Evaluation of the projects. The other important features of the schemes are:


Seed Development Scheme

The State Governments are assisted under this scheme to develop facilities for collection, testing, certification, storage and distribution of quality seeds, The objective is to generate quality seeds which would lead to the growth of healthy and better quality trees. Financial assistance provided under the scheme during the Eighth Five Year Plan was Rs. 7.81 crores out of which Rs. 1.50 crores were released during 1997-98. The budgetary allocation for 1998-99 is Rs. 2.60 crores.


Grants-in-Aid Scheme

In tune with the philosophy of eliciting and nurturing peoples participation, the Board provides financial assistance to Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and Voluntary Agencies (VAs) for afforestation and tree planting activities under this scheme. Financial assistance provided to 338 agencies during the Eighth Five Year Plan period was Rs. 7.51 crores. Rs. 1.41 crores were released during 1997-98. The budgetary allocation for 1998-99 is Rs. 1.55 crores.


Eco-Task Forces

Four Eco-Task Forces (ETF) of ex-servicemen are being funded by NAEB. These ETFs comprise of ex-servicemen and are commanded by serving JCOs and Commissioned Officers. Forest Departments of the State Governments, in which the ETFs are located, provide technical support to the ETFs. The activities undertaken include afforestation, pasture development, soil and water conservation and other restorative works.


Twenty Point Programme

NAEB has been designated as the nodal agency at the Centre for monitoring the progress of afforestation and seedling distribution under Point No. 16(A) and (b) of the Twenty Point Programme. Afforestation and tree planting activities are taken up through the schemes of Ministries of Environment and Forests, Rural Development, Agriculture and Cooperation, Water Resources Development, as also through the funds provided under the State Plans. The performance during the Eighth Five Year Plan, and for 1997-98 is given in Table - 17.

Table - 17

                                   Targets                                        Achievements
Financial       Seedlings Distribution    Area (Public lands     SeedlingDistribution     Area (Public lands
Year            (for planting on          including forest       (for planting on         including forest
                private lands)            lands) in hectares     Private lands)           lands) in hectares
                Nos. in lakhs             Nos. in lakhs
Total              62,585.11                55,22,201.00            55,790.00               50,67,031.18
8th plan
1997-98            11,166.10                11,46,800.00             9,704.80*               9,22,262.37*

* Tentative


Regional Centres

The Board has seven Regional Centres located in universities and national level institutions. These Centres help NAEB in promoting extension of replicable technologies and for dissemination of research findings. They provide technical and extension support to the State forest departments in preparing projects for regeneration of degraded forests and adjoining lands with people s participation, and also act as fora for exchange of ideas and experiences amongst the states of the region as well across the regions. In addition, these centres carry out problem-specific studies as well as evaluation of NAEB s programmes in the field, organize training and workshops on relevant topics. The centres, and the states they cover, are given in Annexure - II.


Technology Extension

In order to harness and extend technology inputs for eco-development and regeneration of degraded forests, a technology extension programme has been initiated in the Board. Demonstration projects, to regenerate various types of degraded lands, like usar, arid and dry areas, gullied and ravinous lands, marshy and waterlogged areas, have been launched with the assistance of various scientific and technical institutions/departments, universities and voluntary agencies. Central assistance is also being provided to State Governments for conducting field trials of tissue culture seedlings raised in collaboration with the Department of Biotechnology. Proven technologies are documented and disseminated to field level functionaries.


Mapping of Wastelands

The National Wastelands Identification Project was initiated in 1986 in collaboration with the Department of Space, National Remote Sensing Agency, and the Survey of India to prepare district-wise wastelands maps on 1:50,000 scale by using satellite data. Wastelands maps for 237 districts have been prepared and distributed to the concerned State and district level agencies. Selection of these districts was made on the criterion that 5% or more of their area was estimated to be wastelands. Mapping work for districts estimated to have less than 5% of area under wastelands is being handled by NWDB in the Ministry of Rural Areas and Employment.


Monitoring and Evaluation

In addition to regular monitoring by State Governments and the NAEB, evaluation of the various projects directly funded by NAEB is carried out through various independent agencies, non-government organisations and individual forestry experts. Regional Centres of NAEB also undertake such evaluation work. Sample checks have been carried out in 50 randomly selected districts every year since 1991-92 in respect of the afforestation and tree planting activities taken up under the Twenty Point Programme.


Swarna Jayanti Kunj Project (under IAEP Scheme)

To commemorate the 50th Anniversary of India s Independence, it was decided that each village may raise a cluster of 50 trees for promoting people s participation in the afforestation programmes. NAEB has provided financial assistance to the State Forest Departments during 1997-98 for this purpose, which would be utilised for raising seedlings of appropriate indigenous species for distribution through the village panchayats. The total expenditure incurred on the above activity during 1997-98 was Rs. 5.86 crores. The proposed plantations are expected to be completed by 15th August, 1998.