SC raps govt on Ganga clean up, seeks explanation
"Are you saving the Holy River?" the SC asked the counsel of the central government even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised to do something for the river wilting under pollution after he won the election from none other than Varanasi on the banks of India's lifeline river.
"You are showing no urgency in this matter. But only in other matters," Justice Thakur told the Solicitor General who sought two more weeks to respond.
The SC thus gave the government only two weeks to explain their position on cleaning up the river.
Taking a dig at the government the apex court said "some issues that ought to be on the back burner are being put out on the front burner."
It has asked for a roadmap and status report on the clean up mission by Sept 3
During his election campaign, Narendra Modi had assured to do his bit to clean up the river.
Uma Bharti has been appointed the Union minister for water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation. She said she needed some weeks to prepare a detailed proposal on cleaning up the river.
The present government has allocated Rs 2037 crore in the current budget for cleaning the river as Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitely announced an integrated Ganga conservation mission, called “Namami Gange”.
Running for 2,510 kilometres, the Ganga is India’s longest river, irrigating 40 percent of the country’s land and providing fresh water to 500 million people who live along its banks.
But a study conducted by the Uttarakhand Environment Protection and Pollution Control Board (UEPPCB) in 2011 slotted the Ganga’s waters into the most polluted “D” category, owing to the steady flow of human faeces, urine and human and industrial sewage into the river.
India’s leading Ganga activists believe big dams are to blame.