The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on Thursday approved the Rs.496.9 crore Ganga cleanup project with Japanese assistance at Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.

The project, under ‘Mission Clean Ganga’ of the National Ganga River Basin Authority, will set up a sewage treatment plant of 140 million litres per day capacity, lay 34 km of sewers and rehabilitate existing sewerage systems.

“The project is significant since it is the first in a series that will be based on requirements of population in 2025-2030. Normally, such projects are planned keeping existing demand in mind but the NGRBA is looking at future population and formulating sewerage treatment facilities,” said Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh.

The central government will bear 85 percent (Rs.427.73 crore) of the project cost while the rest (Rs.69.17 crore) will be shared by the Uttar Pradesh government.

“The project will have direct beneficial impact in terms of reduction of pollution load in the river Ganga in the region besides collateral benefits like irrigation by effluents from sewage treatment plant (STP) and employment opportunities particularly at the construction stage,” a statement said.

According to the statement, biogas (methane) from STP will be used to generate electricity and will help in reducing green house gas emissions.