New Delhi: Water conservation and sewage management will soon become a part of master plans prepared by cities for their development, urban development minister Kamal Nath said on Monday.
“We are building it (water conservation and sewage management plans) in, we have asked all states to build it in their master plans. We have already issued the guidelines,” the minister said on the sidelines of a conference organized by industry lobby Confederation of Indian Industry on sustainable and inclusive solutions.
A master plan is a document that helps city planners develop an urban area in a systematic manner.
Nath said all states have been asked to include these two aspects before sanctioning any new projects. “In all building plans that they (states) sanction, they must ensure that it is a part of the master plan,” the minister said
Nath added that they will also see how a city is incorporating sustainability concerns into the master plan. “We are going to see how carbon neutral they are.”
The next phase of the urban development ministry’s flagship urban renewal mission will incorporate these two plans, Nath said. “This will be a part of the next JNNURM,” he added.
The Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) is a city modernization programme under which states and urban local bodies (ULBs) are required to prepare development plans, lay down a vision for their cities and identify and implement projects according to that.
The first phase of the programme started in 2005 and ended this year. The next phase is likely to begin some time soon.
A plan panel official said it had suggested the second phase include water conservation, wastewater management, solid waste management and rainwater harvesting as specific focus areas.
“This is because a programme like JNNURM should bring all states and ULBs to focus on water and waste management,” said Sindhushree Khullar, secretary of Planning Commission.
However, a New Delhi-based water conservationist said the government’s effort to set up treatment plants under the sewage management plan will remain ineffective if local people aren’t involved.
“Waste water treatment plants have failed to deliver because people whom they serve are not aware of the benefits. People should be aware of how this treated waste water can be utilised for non-drinking purposes,” said Manoj Misra, the convenor of Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan, a group of non-governmental organisations fighting for a cleanup of the Yamuna river.
He said the effort to set up sewage treatment plants will be futile if the treated water is not utilised properly. “If it is a standalone government project or a public-private partnership, without involvement of local communities, then it is bound to fail,” he said.
Kirthi V. Rao contributed to this story.