The Sankat Mochan Foundation (SMF), is a Varanasi based NGO committed to clean Ganga ji.
The first phase of Ganga Action Plan (GAP) for Varanasi was commissioned in the year 1993. GAP-I was not able to completely stop the flow of sewage into Ganga ji at Varanasi. SMF was monitoring Ganga water quality along its religious bathing area with the support of its water quality monitoring laboratory established on the bank of Ganga ji at Tulsighat. SMF observed that drains were discharging sewage into Ganga ji. The collection, conveyance and treatment works of sewage were not working satisfactorily. Ganga water quality along the religious bathing area of Varanasi was badly affected. SMF communicated its observations regarding to the Govt. The Varanasi Nagar Nigam (VNN) asked SMF to prepare an alternative plan for the management of sewage of Varanasi. The comprehensive plan to clean Ganga at Varanasi was made on the request of VNN as an alternative to the Govt’s Ganga Action Plan (run between 1986-1993) and to satisfy the objectives of Ganga Action Plan (GAP) launched in Varanasi in 1986 by Hon’ble Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi ji. The comprehensive plan was submitted to VNN in 1997 and was unanimously accepted by the House of VNN. SMF has been struggling since then to see the plan is implemented in Varanasi to stop flow of sewage in Ganga to clean Ganga in Varanasi.
In the year 2001 the aforesaid SMF’s comprehensive plan was not chosen by the NRCD, GoI for implementation. The implementation of the plan prepared by nodal agency of GoUP based on conventional technology was chosen for implementation in second phase of GAP(GAP-II).
In 2007 Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Dr. Manmohan Singh ji chaired a meeting in PMO where holistic plan for conserving and cleaning all rivers of India was presented by the NRCD. Activists and knowledgeable retired GoI Secretaries and organizations like SMF were invited to attend the meeting. SMF was requested in the meeting to present state of Ganga in Varanasi and various plans running to clean Ganga in the holy city. SMF’s presentation was received favorably and consensus emerged to prioritize works to clean Ganga in Varanasi and use innovative plans like the comprehensive plan of SMF.
On 30th June 2008 NRCD asked SMF (i) to prepare Detailed Project Report (DPR) and build 37 mld AIWPS STP at Ramana and (ii) prepare DPR of the interceptor of about 100 mld sewage handling capacity for Varanasi Ghats on Ganga and adjoining areas. SMF along with its associate GO2 Water, Inc. have been entrusted with the job. Time is running out without commencement of any concrete work in Varanasi to clean Ganga. In 2011 the World Bank loaned the GoI one billion USD to clean the Ganga. The SMF’s comprehensive plan has not been considered. The GoI has set that by March 2020 Ganga will be 100 % clean.
SMF is currently engaged in regular monitoring of Ganga water quality in the religious bathing area of Varanasi to monitor the efficacy of Govt’s plan to clean Ganga, awareness building among masses specifically young citizen by organising culturally consistent environmental education programme.