Israeli President visits Taj, water treatment plant

Agra, Nov 16 (IANS) Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday visited the 17th century Mughal monument to love, the Taj Mahal, and a water treatment plant in Sikandra that uses Israeli technology.

Archeological Survey of India (ASI) official and caretaker of the Taj, Munnazzar Ali told IANS: “The President spent over an hour here and evinced keen interest in the details, particularly calligraphy.”

“Since he knows Arabic, he could read the quotes from the holy Quran. His wife too took a lot of interest,” Ali said.

In the visitors’ book, the President wrote: “With Admiration…Dance me to the end of love.”

Later in the day, Rivlin visited the 144 million litres a day (MLD) water treatment plant, which supplies piped drinking water to around two million residents of the Taj city.

“It is a great honour to have you here in our treatment facility in Agra — a place which is a unique manifestation of the close bonding between Israel and India,” said Elad Frenkel, Chairman of Israeli Water Sector Steering Committee and CEO of Aqwise.

Frankel said the demand for Israeli technologies both in India as also globally is on account of its innovativeness and efficiency, particularly in the cleantech sector.

The Israeli President surprised everyone when he sipped water from a glass filled with the treated water at the plant.

An official told IANS: “The water treatment facility in the plant is executed by Triveni Engineering Industries Ltd and at its core is advanced biological technology provided by Israeli company Aqwise, based on AGAR (MBBR) moving bed bio-reactor technology.”

“It is an innovative water facility treating water from the Yamuna river, and it provides clean drinking water to two million residents in the city.”

This facility is active since 2014 and is the largest in India and among the biggest in the world.

Aqwise has over 400 installations in more than 40 countries.

Talking to media persons, President Rivlin said water and earth were two important things for life.

“God bless India! We hope all homes will get drinking water. This project is the example of the deep bonding of friendship and partnership among our two countries,” Rivlin said.

The Israeli President later planted a Kadamb sapling on the campus.

Rivlin arrived in India on Monday on a week-long state visit at the invitation of President Pranab Mukherjee. He is accompanied by a delegation, comprising academics and businessmen, including 15 heads of Israeli universities and companies.