The President, of India Ram Nath Kovind lighting the lamp to inaugurate India Water Week- 2017, in New Delhi on October 10, 2017 as Nitin Gadkari, Uma Bharti, Arjun Ram Meghwal and Satya Pal Singh looks on.
The President, of India Ram Nath Kovind lighting the lamp to inaugurate India Water Week- 2017, in New Delhi on October 10, 2017 as Nitin Gadkari, Uma Bharti, Arjun Ram Meghwal and Satya Pal Singh looks on.

New India’s water policy need to factor in value of water: Kovind

‘Power for All’ is one of the ambitiouos initiatives the Indian government. But, a new healthy India will also require access to potable water for all! Lately, the President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, inaugurated India Water Week-2017 today on 10 October 2017 in New Delhi.
The issue of water is becoming still more critical in view of climate change and related environmental concerns. Better and more efficient use of water is a challenge for Indian agriculture and industry alike. It requires us to set new benchmarks in both our villages and in the cities we build,” President said speaking on the occasion, and highlighted that water is essential to life and is fundamental to the economy, ecology and to human equity.

The President said that currently, 80 per cent of water in India is used by agriculture and only 15 per cent by industry. In the coming years, this ratio will change. The total demand for water will also rise. Efficiency of water use and reuse, therefore, has to be built into the blueprint of industrial projects. Business and industry need to be a part of the solution.

In India, 54 per cent of people are dependent on farming for their livelihood, said President. Yet, their share of national income is only 14 per cent. To make agriculture more remunerative and to improve the prosperity of farming communities, the government has introduced many new projects. These include:

1. ‘Har Khet ko Paani’– Water for Every Farm: This requires enhancing the supply and availability of water

2. ‘Per Drop, More Crop’: This requires using drip irrigation and related methods to improve farm productivity, while using the same volume of water

3. ‘Doubling Farm Incomes by 2022’: To achieve this, the government is rapidly expanding the area under irrigation, and completing 99 long-pending irrigation projects. Sixty per cent of these projects are in drought-prone areas

The President of India Ram Nath Kovind addressing at the inauguration of the India Water Week- 2017, in New Delhi on October 10, 2017.

The President of India Ram Nath Kovind addressing at the inauguration of the India Water Week- 2017, in New Delhi on October 10, 2017.

President also highlighted the data on India’s industrialisation and the role that water will play there. Under the Make in India mission, India is working to sharply increase the share of manufacturing in our GDP. From the current 17 per cent of GDP, we are determined to take it to 25 per cent by 2025. Industry requires a large volume of water. This is particularly true for the manufacture of electronic hardware, computers and mobile phones. And these are all focus areas for Make in India.

The President said that in urban India, 40 billion litres of waste water is produced every day. It is vital to adopt technology to reduce the toxic content of this water, and to deploy it for irrigation and other purposes. This has to be part of any urban planning programme. 

The President urged a water management approach that is localised. He stated that it should empower village and neighbourhood communities and build their capacity to manage, allocate and value their water resources. Any 21st century water policy must factor in the concept of the value of water. It must encourage all stakeholders, including communities, to expand their minds – and to graduate from allocating a quantum of water to allocating a quantum of benefits. 

The President said that access to water is a byword for human dignity. For India, providing safe drinking water to a population spread across six hundred thousand villages and urban areas is not just a project proposal. It is a sacred commitment. The government has prepared a strategic plan for ensuring drinking water supply in all rural areas by 2022, when India complete 75 years of Independence. By that year, the goal is to cover 90 per cent of rural households with piped water supply. We cannot fail. The deliberations of this conference have to ensure that we do not fail.

The President of India Ram Nath Kovind being presented a memento by the Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Shipping and Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, Shri Nitin Gadkari at the inauguration of the India Water Week- 2017, in New Delhi on October 10, 2017.

The President of India Ram Nath Kovind being presented a memento by the Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Shipping and Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, Shri Nitin Gadkari at the inauguration of the India Water Week- 2017, in New Delhi on October 10, 2017.

Among the dignitaries present on the occasion were Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Shipping, Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Nitin Gadkari; Union Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation, Uma Bharti; Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs and Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Arjun Ram Meghwal; and Minister of State for HRD and Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, Satya Pal Singh.

Speaking on the occasion Nitin Gadkari said that 27 PMKSY projects will be completed by this year. He said 285 new irrigation projects will be taken up by next year to provide irrigation for 1 crore 88 lakh hectare of land.  Gadkari said drip irrigation and irrigation through pipeline will be the priority areas for the Government as this will save large amount of water and also cut down the cost involved in acquiring land. The Union Water Resources Minister said water, power, transport and communication are the four most important pillars of development. He said Government is keen to provide safe drinking water to every household and irrigation water for every farm. In this connection he referred to the recent inauguration of Sardar Sarovar Project by the Prime Minister, which will provide water to over 4 crore people and help irrigate over 8 lakh hectares of land.

Gadkari said that Inter linking of rivers is very important to save people from floods and droughts. He said 30 Projects for river linking have been approved out of which work on three projects namely Ken- Betwa, Par- Tapi Narmada and Daman Ganga Pinjal will start within three months. The Minister said Government is exploring the possibility of creating a large fund for inter liking of rivers. Gadkari said new ways have to be found for use of treated waste water. He said that he has requested the Power Minister to explore the possibility of using recycled water for NTPC power plants. He emphasised the need for inventing innovative methods for using 70% of river water which goes into seas. Referring to Pancheswar Project the Minister said the Secretary of Ministry Water Resources will be visiting Nepal soon to sort out pending issues. He expressed the hope that work on the project will start soon. Shri Gadkari expressed the hope that some good suggestions will come out from the deliberations and discussion during India Water Week.

Here, Uma Bharti in her address said that Government is sincerely working to make available safe drinking water to every household of the country and irrigation facility for every farm by 2022. She said, “ It is a matter of grave concern that ground water level is going down critically. We have misused and abused ground water. We will have to respect water, rivers and ground water and make our rivers Aviral and Nirmal.”

Further on, Arjun Ram Meghwal said that water and energy are two crucial resources whose conservation and optimum utilisation is essential for inclusive growth of a nation. He said 112 districts in the country have less than 20% irrigation coverage and time bound actions are needed to meet the challenges of water scarcity and flood management the Minister said. The Government has proposed National Ground Water Management improvement scheme, a world bank backed Rs. 6,000 crore scheme, for sustainable management of ground water.

About 1500 delegates from India and 13 other countries are attending the five day international event. The theme of India Water Week – 2017 is “Water and Energy for Inclusive Growth”.  The 5th edition of India Water Week (IWW) is being held with a multi disciplinary conference and a concurrently running exhibition. The Business to Business Exhibition “India Water Expo 2017” co-located with the conference will also be organized from 11 to 14 October, 2017 to focus on the latest technologies providing solutions to the water management issues.

News Update| 11 October 2017| Government to fast track Namami Gange Programme, expects significant progress by 2018 end: Gadkari

Union Minister of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Road Transport & Highways and Shipping   Nitin Gadkari has said that Nirmal Ganga is the biggest priority of his Ministry, and all efforts will be made to ensure that the Namami Gange Programme shows good progress by the end of next year. Gadkari was speaking on the occasion of signing of a tripartite agreement  between National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) and the state level executing agencies Uttarakhand Pey Jal Nigam and Uttar Pradesh Jal Nigam, with concessionaires for setting up of India’s first  Sewage Treatment Plants under Hybrid Annuity mode, at Haridwar and Varanasi.
Nitin Gadkari witnessing the signing ceremony of the Concession Agreement for the Development of Sewage Treatment Plants under Hybrid Annuity based PPP mode, in New Delhi on October 11, 2017.

Nitin Gadkari witnessing the signing ceremony of the Concession Agreement for the Development of Sewage Treatment Plants under Hybrid Annuity based PPP mode, in New Delhi on October 11, 2017.

The Minister further said that about 3000 MLD sewage from 97 cities on its banks are the biggest source of pollution for Ganga. Of this, 1750 MLD sewage comes from just 10 cities. He said 34 projects worth Rs 3581 crore had been sanctioned for Ganga cleaning between 2008-2014, while 56 projects worth Rs 9630 crore have been approved since 2014 till date. Mentioning that 18 of these projects are ready, Shri Gadkari said the other projects will also be done by March 2019. He said that a committee headed by MoS Satya Pal Singh will monitor the projects on a monthly basis.

Regarding the agreement for Hybrid Annuity mode (HAM) based STPs for Haridwar and Varanasi signed, the Minister said the agreement is a major step forward in realising the dream of Nirmal Ganga as it is the first time ever in India that Hybrid Annuity-based PPP mode is being applied in sewerage sector.  Under this agreement the maintenance of the project will  be the responsibility of the concessionaire for which there will be performance based phased manner of payment. This  would ensure continued performance of the sewage infrastructure assets created due to better accountability, ownership and optimal performance.

The 50 MLD STP in Varanasi was awarded to a consortium led by Essel Infra Projects at an estimated cost of Rs 153.16 crore. In Haridwar, HNB Engineers, won the contract for a total sewage treatment capacity of 82 MLD (68MLD in Jagjeetpur & 14MLD in Sarai) at an estimated cost of Rs 171.53 crore. The awarded projects would ensure that untreated sewage does not flow into river Ganga, thus giving a boost to India’s flagship Namami Gange program. The construction of these two new/ green field STPs will commence shortly.

A second set of sewage treatment projects under HAM are on the anvil. The upcoming projects which have already been sanctioned under HAM are STPs at Naini, Jhusi, and Phaphamau at Allahabad (72 MLD), STPs at Unnao, Shuklaganj, and Bithoor along with Kanpur (21.4 MLD), STPs at Digha and Kankarbagh in Bihar (150), STPs at Kolkata and Howrah (141 MLD) STPs at Farukhabad (30 MLD), STP at Bhagalpur (65 MLD). Tender documents for 10 of these projects are being prepared. NMCG has also appointed strategic consultants for PPP design and transaction advisory support for integration of sewage treatment infrastructure in Kanpur, Allahabad, Patna and Kolkata.

Gadkari informed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone for setting up four STPs of 140 MLD in Patna on 14th October, 2017. The total cost of these projects would be Rs 738.14 crore.

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