According to a senior government official, the government intends to fortify Ganga river sludge for use as fertiliser in order to promote organic farming and prevent chemicals from entering rivers.
Treated water, which is high in phosphorus and nutrients, is beneficial to crop growth, and various rounds of discussions on how to handle Ganga sludge have taken place in the last two weeks, said the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) Director-General Asok Kumar.
Efforts are being made, he says, to produce fortified sludge and provide it to farmers at subsidised rates. Also Read | Recycled wastewater in Agri, Horti will be successful only with community awareness-Shekhawat.
‘We discovered that treated sludge can have properties similar to fertiliser. So, if we add a little fortification, it (sludge) will be as good as a fertiliser and will aid in organic farming’ Kumar stated to PTI.
‘We are in discussions with companies about producing fortified sludge that could be used as fertiliser and given to farmers at a reduced rate,’ he added.
He claims that this will achieve two goals: first, farmers will use natural fertilisers, and second, the problem of sludge piling will be solved.
‘If I can strike a fair deal with the farmers, they may prefer it as well. We can also incentivize farmers to participate in this deal. We are in discussions with companies about producing high-quality fortified fertilisers from sludge’ He stated.
He also stated that it will prevent chemicals from entering rivers and causing pollution. Chemical fertilisers contain phosphates and nitrates, which are the primary causes of water pollution, according to him. Another major issue, according to Kumar, is cow dung entering rivers, and he advises farmers to use it in farming.
‘If I can also persuade farmers to use gobar (cow dung), which is a major problem in the Ganga basin due to the large bovine population. If we can practise natural farming, we can use this cow dung as manure, preventing E.coli from entering the river’ Kumar stated.
Kumar stated that the NMCG’s current focus is on Arth Ganga, with the goal of connecting people to the river and establishing an economic link between them for sustenance. ‘We’ve been working hard on Arth Ganga for the last two months to make that economic connection,’ he said.
The government launched the NMCG, or Namami Gange, as an umbrella programme in 2015, with an estimated cost of Rs 20,000 crore, with the goal of integrating previous and ongoing projects, as well as new initiatives planned for cleaning the Ganga.
A total of 347 projects were approved under the programme, with a total cost of Rs 30,255 crore. The projects include both infrastructure and non-infrastructure development aimed at revitalising the Ganga.
Development of sewerage infrastructure, industrial effluent treatment plants, rural sanitation, and river surface cleaning are among the projects directly related to the cleaning process.