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New Delhi : At the 37th Executive Committee meeting of the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), chaired by Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, Director General, NMCG, Chacha Chaudhary, a comic book character, was declared as the mascot of the Namami Gange Programme and some major projects in Uttar-Pradesh and Bihar were discussed and evaluated.

NMCG has been focusing on youth as part of its outreach and public communications efforts. As a step towards this, it has tied-up with Diamond Toons to develop and distribute comics, e-comics, and animated videos. The content will be designed with the objective of bringing about behavioral change amongst children towards Ganga and other rivers.

The total estimated budget for the project is Rs 2.26 crore. Ashok Kumar Singh, Executive Director (ED), Projects, presented the project details and shared that Chacha Chaudhary can be useful in ground-level activation for Ganga rejuvenation. Initially, the comics will be launched in Hindi, English and Bengali.  Rajiv Ranjan Mishra said, “NMCG has always been into community engagement with special focus on youth and children. This association will be one more step towards it.”

Dipak Kumar Singh, Principal Secretary, Environment, Forest, and Climate Change Department,Government of Bihar, presented a proposal for conserving and sustainably managing Gangetic floodplain wetlands in Bihar. The major components of the project will be Wetland inventory and assessment, Wetland management planning, Wetland’s monitoring, and Capacity development and outreach. This will be a 100% centrally funded project at an estimated cost of Rs 2.505 crore. The proposal aims at creating a knowledge base and capacities for effective management of floodplain wetlands in 12 Ganga districts in Bihar to ensure sustained provision of wetlands ecosystem services and securing biodiversity habitats. Singh also gave an overview of the initiatives taken to conserve Gangentic Dolphins. He shared that the government is working on sensitising local fishermen, according to a PIB release.

Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, DG, NMCG, suggested that collaborating with other stakeholders like CIFRI can be beneficial in achieving the goal of conservation of Dolphins. Dr. Ritesh Kumar, Director (Wetlands), International South Asia gave a further detail on the Wetland Project.

A Detailed Project Report (DPR) for “Interception and Diversion of Drains and Sewage Treatment Works at Pratapgarh, Uttar-Pradesh” was presented by Dr Pravin Kumar Mutiyar, Director Technical, NMCG. The main aim of this project is reduction of pollution load from Pratapgarh into river Sai along with the improvement in bio-diversity and eco-system of the river and improvement in general hygiene and sanitation.

Major components of this project will be Interception and Diversion of drains discharging into the river to existing STPs, development of 12.472 km sewer line for connection of drains to STP (of these 7.60 km is already built and the balance 4.872 km is in-progress), two separate low-cost treatment processes based STPs for two different drains and an onsite low-cost treatment based on wetland technology proposed for Ramlila drain which flows parallel to  the railway line. The estimated cost of the project is Rs 39.67 crore including 15 years operations and maintenance.

This project was initially approved in 2006 but only construction of STP was completed, it was not operational. As NMCG has started working on rejuvenation of tributaries of Ganga in 2nd phase, this project was re-visited after more than a decade and started with a new approach.

Revised Detailed Project Report (DPR) for “Development of Ghat and Crematoria at Simariya, Barauni, Bihar” was presented by National Buildings Construction Corporation Limited (NBCC) at the meeting. The field survey of the project location had already been done by the NBCC and it has estimated the total project cost as Rs 11.92 crore to be implemented in 20 months.

Simariya being the birth-place of Rashtra Kavi Ramdhari Singh Dinkar is of historical significance. It is believed that the poet spent a lot of time on this bank of Ganga  and penned some of his best poems. This Ghat is also popular for Kalpvas, an ancient tradition in which devotees live on ghats, sing and meditate during the Magh Mela. Another ghat construction was also sanctioned at Balughat, another important place along Ganga in the vicinity of a famous temple.