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118 cities demarcated by Centre for polluting Ganga

More than half the total sewage discharged into the Ganga every day comes from six big cities with Kolkata, Kanpur and Varanasi leading the pack. They are three of the total 118 towns\cities that fall in the vast basin of the country's national river. The other three cities which figure at the top are Patna, Allahabad and Moradabad. 

Together they present a gigantic task before the government which aims to bring these cities to a stage where each drop of sewage water they generate can be used by different agencies\sectors including industries and municipal bodies after treatment. 

The task, under the proposed 'zero discharge policy' of the Centre, however, looks much more difficult at a time when more than two-third of the sewage generated in these 118 towns get discharged into the Ganga untreated. 

A recent report, prepared by a team of experts from different government agencies, has noted that these towns\cities - spread over five states - collectively generate over 3,636 million litres per day (MLD) of sewage as against the treatment capacity of approximately 1027 MLD. 

Underlining the 'gap' between sewage generation and treatment capacity, the water resources and Ganga rejuvenation ministry has already asked all five states - Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal - to submit their detailed project reports to enhance treatment capacities of these towns\cities. 

Sharing city-specific details including amount of sewage generated in the six cities, the government on Monday informed the Rajya Sabha that the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) has received expression of interest from a number of foreign governments (UK, Germany, Australia, Canada, Singapore, the Netherlands) as well to support Ganga rejuvenation through knowledge and technology sharing and providing financial assistance. 

"The government has identified 118 towns along the river Ganga which discharge sewage into the river," the Union water resources minister Uma Bharti said in her written reply to a Parliament Question. 

She said, "The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) is monitoring the water quality at 56 locations along the main stream of Ganga. In addition, the NMCG is getting water quality monitored through identified academic institutions". 

The report, highlighting the poor infrastructure of the 118 towns, was prepared by a team of experts from six different organizations of the ministry including National Institute of Hydrology, Central Water Commission, National Water Development Agency and Central Ground Water Board. The team had submitted its report to the ministry in December, 2014. 

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