For the world rivers become lifeline of the civilization but in Indian context river resembles the Indian culture; not only in providing lively hood to population which is residing on the banks but also in terms of their religious beliefs, their ethos, their daily ways in which they practice their life. But presently this culture only is responsible for the devastation of Indian Rivers.

What is the importance of innovation for Namami Gange?
– I feel nowhere in the world you’ll find that people are taking bath daily or washing their utensils or taking their livestock for various other purposes on the banks of river. Government has been conscious of this and accordingly came out with a flagship program of Namami Gange; this program has outlived 20,000 crores. And when we speak in terms of linkages of this program with innovation, there is a very strong linkage, you’ll find lot of documentary evidences and literature accounting that large amount of pollution is contributed from many areas. So one of the prime objectives is to abate this pollution which entering river through various ways.
There are contemporary and traditional methods to treat this pollution- by construction of sewage treatment plant, by constructing a network of sewers, by intersecting the drains and carrying the sewage.

How you could connect Innovate India with Namami Gange?
Traditionally, Indian system has lot of innovative knowledge in terms of how to treat this pollution. The beauty of this innovative concept is, that these are decentralized techniques, in a sense that in a one way you collect the entire sewage from a place and carried to a common point, in big quantity and treat them.
Another approach can be that you tap the pollution at the time it is generating and treat that pollution and let that clean water flow through the system. And decentralizing the treatment are the focal points where these innovated techniques and technology can make an impact when it comes to clear Ganga.

Are there any particular innovations needed?
– Few examples of them are Indigenous Vegetation, which has capacity through their root system to absorb the pollution. I mean that root system is a house where a group of bacteria’s eat up all organic matter and even stabilize it, also absorbs toxic heavy metals and this is a very successful system. 60% of the pollution in the Kolkata city has been treated by this wetland system.
So there is need for any startup program to do some R&D and identify those species which are effective in treating that particular kind of toxicity present.

So how you are putting this big budget for cleaning the Ganga or the whole project?
16,000 cr- sewerage infrastructure
10,00 cr- industrial population
Another equal amount has been made available for R&D capacity ability and innovative techniques. In fact we are encouraging lot of these innovated projects- there is a concept of constructed wetlands. We have sanctioned one project in Vrindavan, Mirzapur, Farooqabad. Another important aspect of innovation is training these man power to cater to the sector specific requirement.

Dr. Praveen Tiwari is speaking to D.P. Mathuria, Executive Director of National Mission For Clean Ganga, in an exclusive interview about what all opportunities young innovators and new startups can find through Namami Gange project.

Who contribute major pollution waste? What is the major concern of Namami Gange team?
– 80% is contributed by our municipalities itself. When it comes to innovative techniques in industrial sector it becomes very important area in which extra efforts can be put in, because industrial production release many kind of toxicity and then they are release in water.
Recently we have discussion with one of scientist from Singapore, they are implementing particularly for industrial sector a system of detection of toxicity. So these kind of innovative practice have a very good scope of replication.

What about startups? Should startup seek some opportunities with Namami Gange? How?
– We are encouraging the startups and innovative schemes under research and development component of this Namami Gange program, we have got a scheme under which technology component can be applied to us, I mean he can provide us solution for particular identified area and he proposes his system or technique, he also proposes commercial part of his concept and those concepts are scrutinize by expert body and recommended for demonstration purpose. Now he is able for demonstration in a year, if he’s able to prove the results in the first month he becomes eligible for reimbursement in the costs, so this is how we are encouraging startups in nontraditional concept of abatement to the pollution. Even If we claim that we can reduce pollution by this technology by 40% -50% etc then we encourage them.

What is your advice to startups and innovators?
– First thing one must realize is that government will not do everything by itself, it has to be social movement. If such startup solutions are provided to us then we are ready to look into it and we do encourage them to participate in our program. And if the startup innovative technology components are sure and confident of their technology then definitely there is a big scope in Namami Gange program, to encourage them, to implement them, and serve the cause.

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