Japanese aid to save Pune's dying Mula-Mutha

Japan will breathe life into Pune's rivers with a generous Rs.990.26-crore aid. The Union government signed a loan agreement with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) on Wednesday to clean the Mula Mutha rivers under a National River Conservation Plan (NRCP) project.
The Mula-Mutha rivers are among the 302 polluted river stretches of the country identified by Central Pollution Control Board. Both have untreated domestic wastewater released into them due to inadequate sewage treatment, fewer pumping stations, and sewage treatment capacity as well as open defecation on the rivers' banks.
“The agreement has paved the way for the plan. It will reduce river pollution and improve the city's sanitation,“ municipal commissioner Kunal Kumar said. Delhi's got its Yamuna, Chennai its Cooum and Adayar, Varanasi its Ganga and Pune, its Mula-Mutha. Its stinking, polluted waters are a source of constant rancor among environmentalists. Now that Japan has promised help to clean and revive it, there is hope to see some sparkle in the river.
Civic officials said the project cost will be shared between the Union government and Pune Municipal Corporation, the implementing agency. The government will chip in with Rs.841.72 crore and the civic body will contribute Rs 148.54 crore.
The loan has to be repaid by the Union government in 40 years, including a 10-year grace period. The project is expected to be completed by January 2022. The pollution will be checked through construction of 11 new sewage treatment plants by which the civic body will treat 396 MLD over the existing treatment capacity of 477 MLD.
The civic body will lay 113.6 km of sewer lines and renovate four existing intermediate pumping stations. Once the project is complete, the total STP capacity in Pune will be 873 MLD sufficient to cater to sewage generation till 2027.
A central supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system for centralized monitoring of functioning of STPs, construction of 24 units of community toilet facilities in slum and fringe areas, public participation and awareness programmes and GIS mapping of sewerage facilities for better asset management are among the other efforts.
A project management consultant will be appointed by the ministry , as per JICA guidelines.
The agreement was signed by Tomohide Ichiguchi, deputy chief representative, JICA India Office and S Selvakumar, joint secretary , department of economic affairs, ministry of finance. Minister of state for environment, forest and climate change Prakash Javadekar and Kenji Hiramatsu, ambassador of Japan to India, were also present.
“Sanitation plays an important role in ensuring protection of the environment and water resources, and in providing adequate clean water to support social and economic development,“ Ichiguchi said.

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