Japan lends Rs.1,000 crore to clean river

New Delhi, Jan 13 (IANS) Japan on Wednesday signed a loan agreement with the central government to provide Rs.1,000 crore to facilitate pollution control and decline of Pune’s Mula-Mutha rivers, a statement said.

Under the National River Conservation Plan, a loan agreement was signed between Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the central government. Forests and Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, who hails from Pune, termed it a “historic agreement”.

Japan committed to provide a soft loan of 19.064 billion yen (about Rs.1,000 crore) to the government for the project, at an interest rate of 0.30 percent per annum, the statement said.

The major components proposed under the project include construction of 11 new sewage treatment plants, laying of 113.6 km of sewer lines and renovation, rehabilitation of the four existing intermediate pumping stations.

The loan has to be repaid by India in a period of 40 years, including a 10-year grace period. The project is scheduled to be completed by January 2022, according to the statement.

The Mula and Mutha rivers in Pune, which after confluence become Mula-Mutha and meets the Bhima river, are among the 302 polluted river stretches of the country identified by Central Pollution Control Board.

The major reasons for pollution of Mula-Mutha are discharge of untreated domestic waste water into the river system due to inadequate sewerage drainage (including pumping stations) and sewage treatment capacity in the city, as well as open defecation on the river banks.

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