“It is the responsibility of States, Union Territories and local bodies to ensure required treatment of sewage and industrial effluents before discharging into rivers and water bodies”, said Minister of State for Jal Shakti, Bisheswar Tudu.
His statement was in response to MP Kanimozhi NVN Somu’s question seeking information on if the government had sanctioned amounts for the restoration of rivers and water bodies in Tamil Nadu during the last five years. She also asked the minister to provide detail on measures that the government plans to or has already taken towards protecting the Pallikaranai marshlands from being encroached by constructions, landfills and garbage dumps.
The minister explained that through the centrally sponsored scheme of National River Conservation Plan, the ministry had been providing financial and technical assistance to States and UTs for abatement of pollution in identified stretches of rivers on a cost sharing basis. The scheme covers activities such as shoreline protection, in-situ cleaning, storm water management and treatment of water.
“Proposals for pollution abatement works in towns along polluted river stretches are received from States/UTs under the NRCP and sanctioned based on their prioritisation, conformity with guideless and availability of plan funds”, the minister said.
Under NRCP, projects for the conservation of the Cauvery, Adyar, Cooum, Vaigai, Vennar and Tamrabarani rivers were sanctioned for ₹908.13 crores for 13 towns including Chennai, Erode, Kumbakonam and Bhiwani and sewage treatment plants with a total capacity of 477.66 million litres per day have been created in Tamil Nadu. The ministry has not sanctioned any funds to the TN government in the past five years.
The minister added that funds amounting to ₹363.10 Lakhs was released to Tamil Nadu for conservation of wetlands including Pallikarni during 2017-18 to 2021-22.