The Jal Shakti Ministry has asked the Kerala government to submit a report on groundwater pollution based on its inference that around 80-90% of groundwater has increased concentration of faecal coliform.
The direction was issued by the Director General of the National Mission for Clean Ganga under the Ministry based on an observation made by the Central Public Health and Environmental Engineering Organisation (CPHEEO) under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs that sewage generated from densely populated areas is being directed underground.
About 80-90% of groundwater has increased concentration of faecal coliform, which is a matter of serious concern, it said. The Ministry has asked the authorities to look into this problem and take appropriate action.
The Ministry has suggested that the government explore adopting the Hybrid Annuity Model (HAM) to fast-track the setting up of sewage treatment plants, which has been hit by paucity of funds. In this public-private partnership investment mode, government pays 40% of the capital cost of the project in equal instalments during the construction period. The remaining 60% is paid as an annuity amount over the operation and maintenance period of 15 years. The developer will also receive operation and maintenance payments bi-annually along with annuity payments.
The Ministry has also proposed considering the feasibility of decentralised sewage treatment plants which are easy to implement and have minimal capital and maintenance cost. The suggestions were made when the government authorities pointed out that they have submitted proposals for funding under the National River Conservation Plan (NRCP). The Central authorities suggested exploring other financial sources in view of the limited funds under the NRCP.