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Namami Gange organizes 4th consultative meeting 

Business Standard , May 02, 2019

National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) in collaboration with PTC Financial Services Limited organized the 4th Consultative Meeting on 'Development of Sewage Treatment Plants (STP) through Hybrid Annuity Mode (HAM)' at India Habitat Centre, Delhi.

Wide participation of all the major players from the water and wastewater sector, as well as other stakeholders, developers, consultants, financial institutions bankers etc, was seen.

Addressing the stakeholders, Upendra Prasad Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, said he was confident that the HAM is proving to be a real game-changer and an innovation which is adding value to projects in sewerage infrastructure. Besides being a role model for players from different sectors, he believed that the quality of overall delivery would also improve under HAM model in the future.

Rajiv Mishra, Director General, NMCG was pleased to see all the stakeholders, developers, investors on one platform and was confident that the discussions would help to build understanding of the concerns associated with qualification, financing, timelines and other terms of bid documents on development of sewage treatment plants with Public Private Partnership (PPP) and create confidence in the mind of investors. Mishra looked forward to the suggestions; addressing the challenges and expediting the processes.

At the interactive session, the Secretary, along with the NMCG team assured that all the valued inputs and suggestions by stakeholders, prospective developers, contributors, and investors would be included in the policy framework of HAM projects.

A separate stakeholder consultation was held with members of the FICCI Water Mission earlier. The FICCI Water Mission was chaired by Naina Lal Kidwai, co-chaired by Mukund Vasudevan, MD, Ecolab India and addressed by U.P. Singh, Secretary, MoWR, Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, DG, NMCG. The topics discussed during the interaction included concerns about re-usability of treated wastewater and sludge, tweaking required in the framing of request for proposal by NMCG for Namami Gange projects and apprehensions about the scale of the project in Namami Gange. Most of these concerns were allayed by the DG in his address to the FICCI members, who also invited the members to attend the Consultative Meeting with stakeholders. Other areas of interest in which FICCI members could partner NMCG particularly in policy issues such as improved water use efficiency were also explored.

Before HAM projects, the focus was more on asset creation which led to under utilisation and inefficient operation of many STPs. Under the HAM mode PPP projects, upto 40% of the capital cost of the project is paid by the government during the construction phase of the project. The remaining capital investment on the project, the cost of operations and maintenance of STP are paid over a period of 15 years as quarterly instalments. The payment of the project in the given period has been linked to the performance standards of the project. Interest rate risk and inflation risk is also covered in the model.

The pioneering projects in sewerage infrastructure have been started in Haridwar and Varanasi, followed by projects in Mathura, Howrah, Prayagraj, Kanpur and Patna. A total of 30 packages have been prepared under this model, out of which 6 packages have already been awarded, bids have been received in 2 projects and 9 are under the process of bidding

The Hybrid Annuity Mode has been further improvised through 'One City, One Operator' model wherein operations of new STPs, existing STPs, pumping stations and pipelines are all given to one operator to manage. This initiative is proving to be a paradigm shift in the wastewater treatment sector giving one stop solution to sewage treatment of an entire city. The single ownership and accountability for end to end operations assure continued performance for both existing and new sewerage infrastructure.

The innovation has been recognised at the international level. Varanasi wastewater treatment project was recognised as the 'Water Deal of the Year' by International Infrastructure Journal and recently NMCG was awarded Distinction as 'Public Water Agency of the Year' at Global Water Summit, London.

The various subjects discussed during the consultative meeting include the technical and financial criteria needed to bid in the project, experience in the sector, funding issues, concerns of banks and other financial institutions among others.

The consultation was welcomed by the stakeholders who actively participated in large numbers. It is hoped that the cascade effect of the consultation will help in creating larger awareness and greater participation in NMCG's projects based on HAM.