J-K’s Devika river project matter of faith for people of region: Jitendra Singh

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New Delhi, June 3 (PTI) Union Minister Jitendra Singh on Thursday said the Devika river project in Jammu and Kashmir is a matter of faith for the people of the region and hoped that it would be possible to complete it by the beginning of next year.

He reviewed the project at a high-level meeting attended among others by Jammu and Kashmir Chief Secretary Arun Kumar Mehta, Principal Secretary Housing and Urban Development Board Dhiraj Gupta and Udhampur Deputy Commissioner Indu Kanwal Chib.

Singh, the Minister of State for Personnel, said the Devika project is not a mere project but a matter of faith for everyone, particularly the people of Udhampur, and therefore any suggestion or input coming from any quarter should be viewed positively, regardless of the political affiliation or political party of the person who puts forth the suggestion.

Recalling his visit to the project site in January this year, Singh said he had expressed disappointment at the slow pace of work but added that the second wave of COVID-19 has also been a challenge, according to a statement issued by the Personnel Ministry.

He, however, hoped that now that things have been streamlined to get it executed with better coordination between executing agencies, it would be possible to complete the project by the beginning of next year, it said.

The work on the Rs 190 crore project under the National River Conservation Plan (NRCP) started in March 2019.

Under the project, bathing “ghats” (places) on the banks of the Devika river will be developed, encroachments will be removed, natural water bodies will be restored and catchment areas will be developed, the statement said.

The project includes the construction of three sewage treatment plants of 8 MLD, 4 MLD and 1.6 MLD capacity, sewerage network of 129.27 km, development of two cremation ghats, protection fencing and landscaping, small hydropower plants and three solar power plants, it said.

On completion of the project, the rivers will see reduction in pollution and improvement in water quality, the statement said.

The Devika river holds religious significance as it is revered by Hindus as the sister of the river Ganga, it said. PTI AKV SMN

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