Haridwar, December 05: Sweden King Carl XVI Gustaf and his wife Queen Silvia on Thursday attended the inauguration of a sewage treatment plant in the district.
Built at a cost of Rs 41.40 crore on Hybrid Annuity Finance Model, the 14 MLD sewage plant was inaugurated jointly by Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat at Sarai in Haridwar district under the Namami Gange project in the presence of the Swedish royal couple.
The royal couple physically inspected the treatment plant and gathered information from officials concerned on how it functions. They also went around an exhibition showcasing steps taken by the Centre to control pollution of the Ganga.
In his address on the occasion, the Swedish King showered praise on the Indian government for the steps it had taken to make the Ganga clean saying the mighty river represented the faith of crores of Indians.
He spoke about the cultural richness of India and its similarities with Sweden.
Describing the Ganga as a divine river, he praised officials and the entire workforce associated with the Namami Gange project.
Union Minister Shekhawat said work is being carried out in mission mode to clean the Ganga from Gomukh in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand to Ganga Sagar in West Bengal.
He expressed hope that with the active participation from people Ganga will become clean up to Haridwar by 2021 Kumbh fair. Speaking at the inauguration, the Chief Minister said treated water from the plant will be made available to farmers for irrigation. It will also nourish their crops as organic fertilizer and curtail the farmers' dependence on chemical manure, he said.
Crediting the Centre with taking several steps to cleanse the Ganga river and strengthening the country's water resources, Rawat said the ban on single-use plastic was also a major step in that direction.