Delhi appoints London firm for revival of Mula-Mutha

The Union government has appointed a London-based consultant agency for the Rs.950-crore Mula-Mutha rejuvenation project that aims at restricting release of untreated sewage into the river, Pune city MP Anil Shirole said.

He said the environment ministry has issued a letter on the appointment of the consultant — a crucial push to the project announced in 2015 but which is yet to take off.

In October, Shirole said, a meeting was held in New Delhi in the presence of Union environment minister Harsh Vardhan to take forward the project implemented with financial assistance from Japan International Cooperation Agency as part of the National River Conservation Plan.

The meeting resolved to appoint a consultant by the end of November. “It was also decided to start the project in phases,” he said, adding that NRDP and JICA are likely to approve laying of sewage lines in the Baner area in the next few days.

The actual field work will, however, start after the civic body’s standing committee approves it. The project aims at measures to stop pollution by restricting release of sewage into the river by constructing sewage treatment plants along its banks, laying sewer lines and constructing community toilets.

Shirole said he will try faster implementation of the project and ensure that it receives necessary assistance from the Centre. The leader pledged to hold talks with chief minister Devendra Fadnavis to resolve issues related to the implementation of the river rejuvenation project.

The civic administration had last month said no sewage would be released untreated into the Mula- Mutha under the river restoration project. The administration has mapped 127 points along the river where sewage is released.

Opposition parties in the Pune Municipal Corporation have been blaming the Union and the state governments for the delay in the implementation of the project. They claimed that the project was yet to take off because of the lack of coordination between the two governments.

The project is expected to improve the sanitation of the city. The biogas (methane) from STPs will be used to generate electricity. Though this will not only be a non-conventional energy source, but it will have its benefits in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Methane is a greenhouse gas.

The Mula-Mutha in Pune is one of the 302 polluted river stretches across the country identified by Central Pollution Control Board. The major factors behind the pollution of Mula-Mutha are discharge of untreated domestic waste water into the river because of inadequate sewerage system and treatment capacity and open defecation along the river banks.

The civic administration has, however, identified locations along the river wherein sewage is being released into the water.

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