New Delhi : Union Minister for Jal Shakti, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat in a written reply in Rajya Sabha today said that National River Conservation Plan (NRCP) is the Centrally Sponsored Scheme implemented by this Ministry for abatement of pollution in identified stretches of rivers in the country, excluding those in Ganga basin, by providing financial and technical assistance to the States/Union Territories (UTs) on cost sharing basis.
Rivers and lakes in the country are polluted mainly due to discharge of untreated or partially treated sewage from cities/towns and industrial effluents in their respective catchments, problems in operation and maintenance of sewage/effluent treatment plants, lack of dilution and other non-point sources of pollution.
Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in association with the State Pollution Control Boards/Committees in different States/UTs has been monitoring water quality of rivers and other water bodies in the country through a network of monitoring stations under the National Water Quality Monitoring Programme. Based on water quality monitoring results, pollution assessment of rivers has been carried out by CPCB from time to time. As per the last report of CPCB in September, 2018, 351 polluted river stretches were identified on 323 rivers in the country based on monitoring results in terms of Bio-chemical Oxygen Demand, an indicator of organic pollution. These include 64 stretches on rivers not in the domain of NRCP, with State/UT wise details given at Annexure-I.
Based on water quality monitoring of 306 lakes in the year 2019, CPCB has also informed that 252 lakes were found not meeting the criteria for outdoor bathing.
Other than NRCP, the Ministry is implementing the Central Sector Scheme of Namami Gange for rejuvenation of river Ganga and its tributaries. Under the Namami Gange programme, a total of 346 projects in Ganga basin States have been sanctioned at a cost of Rs.30,235 crore.
In compliance of the orders of National Green Tribunal (NGT) in Original Application No.673/2018 regarding polluted river stretches in the country, States/UTs are required to implement action plans approved by CPCB for restoration of the said stretches in their jurisdiction within the stipulated timelines. As per the orders of NGT, regular review on implementation of action plans is undertaken in the States/UTs and also at Central level.
For conservation of lakes and wetlands in the country, the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change is implementing the Centrally Sponsored Scheme of National Plan for Conservation of Aquatic Eco-systems (NPCA) on cost sharing basis. State/UT wise details of funds released under Namami Gange and NPCA during the last three years are at Annexure-II.