Director-General of the National Mission for Clean Ganga, Asok Kumar, said the agency will begin selling treated water to the IOCL in about a month.

The government is looking for ways to monetize treated sewage and dirty water removed from the Ganga River and will soon sell it to the Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL), a senior official said. About 12,000 million liters per day (MLD) of wastewater is generated in the Ganga Basin. Director General (DG) of the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) Asok Kumar said the agency will start selling treated water to the IOCL in about a month.

“We’re starting it with Mathura, a project for 20 MLD of treated water to be given to the IOCL. There is an oil refinery there and the treated water from the Mathura STP will be given according to the requirements of the IOCL. In a month or so we will be able to get that project and it will be the first time in the country that an oil refinery will use treated water,” said Kumar.

The dirty and sewage collected from the Ganga will be treated in sewage treatment plants (STPs) and then it can be sold to industries if it is suitable for them, he said.

“The treated water, which is of good quality, can be used by industry. It will also help reduce the use of good water from rivers,” he added. Kumar previously said less treated water was generated for sale to industries because very few STPs were functional.

“Some of them (STPs) didn’t even have a power connection, even though they were completed many years ago, meaning they weren’t running at all. And there was no close monitoring of the water coming to the WWTPs. But now that the STPs are there and working, we can plan to monetize them (treated water),” he added.

The NMCG DG said the agency is also in talks with the Ayush ministry on how to cultivate medicinal plants on riverbeds as part of natural farming.

“We are also in talks with companies that could start growing medicinal plants on the riverbed, giving farmers opportunities to earn a living,” he added.

Kumar said the focus of the NMCG is now on ‘Arth Ganga’, which aims to connect people to the river and establish an economic link between them for livelihood.

“For the past two months, we’ve been working hard on Arth Ganga to make that economic connection,” he said.
In 2015, the government launched the NMCG or ‘Namami Gange’, with an indicative cost of Rs 20,000 crore, as an umbrella program aiming to integrate past and ongoing projects and new planned initiatives for cleaning the Ganga.

Under the program, a total of 347 projects were sanctioned at a cost of Rs 30,255 crore. The projects include infrastructure and non-infrastructure development to rejuvenate the Ganges.

The projects directly related to the cleaning process include the development of sewage infrastructure, industrial wastewater treatment plants, rural sanitation and river surface cleaning.

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