Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, Minister for Revenue, Mining & Water Resources, Punjab today met Dr Carlos Martins, Secretary of State for Water Resources, Government of Portugal and had wide-ranging discussions on issues of water management, cleaning of rivers and water conservation.Mr. Sarkaria is on a two-day visit to Portugal on the invitation of the Embassy of India in Portugal. Dr. Martins highlighted the successful efforts of the Government of Portugal in cleaning the Tagus Estuary, which is the largest Estuary in Western Europe. There are 19 municipalities on the banks of the river having 2.8 million inhabitants. Tagus, which was one of the most polluted rivers of Western Europe, has today been transformed into a pollutant free water basin having 35 beaches suitable for bathing next to the estuary, he said. The waters, which were unable to support aquatic life, today had dolfins in abundance, a clear proof of the purity of the waters.
The wastewater treatment plants have been strategically located as per the quality requirements of the receiving waters. The Integrated project also has provisions for reuse of treated water. He added that the technological interventions considered the integration of infrastructures in the landscape, with minimal environmental impact.Mr. Sarkaria evinced keen interest in the successful efforts of the Government of Portugal in cleaning of rivers and requested Dr. Martins to depute a team of officials to explore the possibility of undertaking a similar project in the State of Punjab. He also requested them to share technological advances in ground water recharge.Mr. Sarkaria was accompanied by Mrs. K. Nandini Singla, Ambassador of India in Portugal, Mr. Amararam Gurjar, First Secretary, Embassy of India in Portugal and Mr. Gurkirat Kirpal Singh, Secretary, Information and Public Relations, Government of Punjab.