Clean Ganga: NGT raps govt, says hardly anything done

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday expressed dissatisfaction over the cleaning up of Ganga and said the situation was extraordinarily bad even as  Union minister Satyapal Singh told the Lok Sabha that it was not appropriate to say that none of the Ganga projects have seen any progress in the past several decades.

 A bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice AK Goel said that despite claims by the authorities, the work done on the ground for Ganga rejuvenation was not adequate and regular monitoring was required to improve the situation.

The Green panel ordered survey to seek views of common man about what he feels on ground about the pollution in Ganga and said the feedback could be given through e-mail of the authorities concerned. The NGT had earlier rapped the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) for not filing a compliance report on the steps taken by the Centre and the UP and Uttarakhand governments to clean the river Ganga in the stretch between Gomukh and Unnao. It had passed a slew of directions to rejuvenate Ganga, declaring as ‘No Development Zone’ an area of 100 metres from the edge of the river between Haridwar and Unnao and prohibiting dumping of waste within 500 metres from the river. The tribunal had said the government has spent over Rs 7,000 crore in two years to clean the Ganga which still remains a “serious environmental issue.”

Minister of state for Ganga Rejuvenation SP Singh told the Lok Sabha, “It is not a fact that none of the clean Ganga projects have been able to get any headway in the past decades. In fact, sewage treatment capacity of approximately 1,684 million litres per day (MLD) has been created through interception and diversion (I&D) and Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) projects since 1985 in Ganga Action Plan (GAP-I), GAP-II, National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA), Namami Ganga and other schemes in the towns along Ganga. Out of 4,812 km of sanctioned sewer network, approximately 2,050 km sewer lines have been laid till now under the Namami Gange Programme, including the NGRBA.”