New Delhi: Prime Minister of Netherlands Mr. Mark Rutte inaugurated the Indo-Dutch Ganga Forum to take forward the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of India and the Ministry of Infrastructure & Environment of the Netherlands in June last year.
Addressing the gathering, Mr. Rutte appreciated the efforts being made under Namami Gange programme and acknowledged the vastness of the task at hand. He said that local governments, the financial sector and the private sector as well as communities will need to join hands with the Indian and the Netherlands governments. He also advocated waste-to-wealth approach to encourage sustainability of projects.
Minister of Water and Infrastructure, Netherlands, Ms. Cora van Nieuwenhuizen also advocated trash-to-cash approach. She expressed the Netherlands government’s keenness to work closely with National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG).
Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Shri U.P Singh said that there are more than 2,000 aquatic species in river Ganga and around 2 million people bathe in it every day. He also said that cleaning river Ganga is a continuous process.
Director General, NMCG Mr. Rajiv Ranjan Mishra gave an overview of the Namami Gange programme and said that the work is being done expeditiously to achieve the herculean task of Ganga cleaning. He added that more innovations are being brought-in to have more efficiency and transparency and also to keep in mind life cycle costs.
The inauguration of the Indo-Dutch Ganga Forum was followed by a technical session on “Innovative Financing Models for Indo-Dutch PPP Projects” during which a detailed discussion on Hybrid Annuity based PPP mode took place. NMCG shared with the Dutch delegates the efforts made by NMCG to start two projects under Hybrid Annuity mode in Varanasi and Haridwar which was appreciated by Netherlands government. NMCG expressed its willingness to adopt proven international experience and technologies in waste water treatment sector.
Executive Director (Projects), Mr. Hitesh Kumar S. Makwana briefed the gathering about the status of various projects under Namami Gange programme and the challenges ahead. Mr. Makwana apprised the audience with innovative models like Hybrid Annuity based PPP model and One-City-One Operator concept and explained that the funds for the projects under Hybrid Annuity are given through a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) formed for individual project to build confidence.
The subsequent sessions saw discussions on themes “Dutch Approach to Partnership in Public Utilities in India” and “Innovative Dutch Solutions for Urban Water Challenges” and Techniques like Dutch triple-helix model were contemplated for Barapullah drain project as well.
The Netherlands government also shared the experiences of their collaboration with Uttar Pradesh government to reduce water consumption and employ cleaner technologies in tanneries in Kanpur.