By Anand Singh
New Delhi, Feb 21 : The Central government had sanctioned 310 projects under the Namami Gange programme by January last year for various activities such as sewerage infrastructure and river front development at a cost of Rs 28,791 crore, out of which 116 projects have been completed so far.
The details were shared by the government in reply to the recommendation made by the standing committee on water resources, whose report was shared in the Lok Sabha on February 9 this year.
In its reply to the committee, the government said, “As on January 31, 2020, a total of 310 projects were sanctioned under the Namami Gange programme for various activities such as sewerage infrastructure, ghats and crematoriums, river front development, river surface cleaning, institutional development, biodiversity conservation, afforestation and rural sanitation at a total cost of Rs 28,791 crore.”
The government also said that 116 out of the 310 projects have been completed and the remaining projects are at various stages of execution and tendering.
The government said that expenditure of the completed and under progress projects amounted to Rs 8,956 crore till date.
It further said that under the Namami Gange programme, sewerage infrastructure projects are sanctioned with 15 years of cost for operation and maintenance (O&M).
It said that the expenditure relayed to O&M will be utilised annually in a phased manner, for 15 years, after the execution of the projects during the O&M phase.
It also said that for the sewerage infrastructure projects sanctioned under the hybrid annuity mode (HAM), expenditure of only 40 per cent of capex will be incurred during the project execution and the balance 60 per cent and cost towards O&M will be spent in a phased manner during operation and maintenance of the projects.
“Thus, 30 per cent of the total sanctioned cost will be spent in a phased manner during O&M of the projects,” the government said.
It further pointed out that the Namami Gange programme is spread over different sectors and involves several agencies, therefore, implementation level “bottlenecks and procedural delays” are inherent.
“Attempt has, however, been made by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) to expeditiously resolve these issues and improve the pace of implementation of the programme,” it said.
The government also said that now the programme has gained momentum and utilisation of funds has substantially picked up since the financial year 2017-18.
It said that out of a total of 152 sewerage projects, 97 have been sanctioned since 2017 after the NMCG was notified as an authority and substitute institutional strengthening took place.
“As against 28 projects for 462.85 MLD in 2014, multiform increase has taken place with the addition of 124 sewerage projects for capacity creation of 4,393.45 MLD over the years,” it said.
The government said that till March 2014, only 72 projects were sanctioned at a cost of Ra 4,608 crore out of which 16 have been completed. Similarly, in 2014-15, 21 projects worth Rs 3,184 crore were sanctioned out of which 10 have been completed.
In 2015-16, the government sanctioned seven projects at a cost of Rs 584 crore out of which two have been completed. The government sanctioned 60 projects in 2016-17 at a cost of Rs 2,678 crore, out of which 11 have been completed.
In 2017-18, the government sanctioned 40 projects at a cost of Rs 9,547 crore out of which 10 have been completed.
In 2018-19, the government sanctioned 92 projects at a cost of Rs 7,781 crore out of which 39 have been completed.
The government also said that the amount disbursed by the NMCG has been increasing year by year. In 2014-15, 2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20, the NMCG disbursed Rs 170.9 crore, Rs 602.6 crore, Rs 1,062.81 crore, Rs 1,625 crore, Rs 2,626.54 crore and Rs 2,278.84 crore, respectively.
The government said that utilisation of funds has improved over the years and it is likely to improve further as a large number of projects are currently underway at various stages.
(Anand Singh can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)