Corporates join Ganga rejuvenation; sign MoU for building ghats and crematoria

The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), State Program Management Group-Uttarakhand (SPMG-UK) and Indorama Charitable Trust (ICT) have signed a tripartite agreement to work together for renovation/ development of the ghat at Badrinath and ghats and Crematoria at Gangotri in Uttarakhand at a total cost of Rs26.64 crore.

Rivers in India have always been considered sacred and the Ganga river in particular, is the identity and lifeline of India. Pilgrim sites and urban centers have developed along the river. These centres have drawn sustenance from the river and have been thriving over time. 
Ghats and crematoria are part of the lifestyle of people and pilgrimages to visit the holy river Ganga play a vital role in strengthening the people-river connect. Gangotri and Badrinath being part of the Char DhamYatra, are especially important. This MoU, entered into with the underlying spirit of partnership and of private corporates taking responsibility by contributing to the national mission of rejuvenation of the sacred river Ganga, is a significant step for improving amenities and sanitation at these holy locations. 
Speaking on the occasion, minister of Jal Shakti Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, said this project is being taken up under the government initiative of ‘Har Kaam Desh Ke Naam’. He said the Clean Ganga campaign has been taken up in mission mode since the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government assumed office in 2014. Though the mission is nearing 100 per cent completion, the Namami Ganga Mission is an unending process. The minister lauded the Indorama Group for financing the project and hoped this will inspire other entrepreneurs to take it up as part of their companies’ corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative. Shekhawat said for the first time the novel operation and maintenance clause has been inserted, which will take care of the project’s upkeep over a period of time. Clean Ganga Mission can succeed only when it becomes a people’s initiative, he added.
The detailed Project Report (DPR) has been developed by WAPCOS, a Government of India Enterprise.
The project includes:
  • Construction of bathing ghats and crematoria
  • Repair and modernization of existing ghats and crematoria
  • Providing public amenities at ghats
  • Bank erosion protection works
  • Operation and maintenance for 5 years
  • The project work is expected to start in March 2020 and is likely to be completed in 15 months. This MoU is effective for duration of 7 years.
Project details
Badrinath bathing ghat is situated along the bank of river Alaknanda. Through local consultation, the sites of the ghat was identified. The total area to be developed at Badrinath bathing ghat is 2,099 sq m. The total cost of the project will be Rs10.31 crore. Operation and maintenance of the ghat will be for five years. Development of Badrinath ghat includes the various components like changing room, toilet with bio-digester and reed bed, water spout, chhatri, platform, signages, horticulture work, railing etc. Construction of the ghat will be completed in 15 months.
Gangotri bathing ghat and crematoria are situated along the bank of river Bhagirathi at Gangotri. One bathing ghat and one crematoria will be developed at Gangotri. The total area to be developed at Gangotri ghat is 2,170 sq m. The total cost of the project will be Rs16.02 crore. Development of ghat includes the various components like changing room, toilet with bio-digester and reed bed, IWC, water spout, chhatri, platform, signages, horticulture work, railing, solar light pole etc. Construction of the ghat will be completed in 15 months.
Rejuvenated ghats along the river would improve the people-river connect and would also become places that reflect local culture and history.
The project will significantly improve the visual aesthetics of the area. For Ganga Rejuvenation, improvement in aesthetics is also an important aspect. Besides it would help improve river water quality through reduction in disposal of untreated sewage, solid waste disposal, etc.
Increase in tourism will create opportunities for local employment.
Prevention of the disposal of un-burnt / partially burnt bodies in the river will reduce river pollution due to cremation process (IWC would save 200 kg of wood per cremation and 1 tree per 3 cremations).