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SC wants to monitor Ganga clean-up

Krishnadas Rajagopal
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Asks govt. to explain how the project will be executed

The apex court has criticised the government for lack of urgency in cleaning the Ganga. The polluted river as seen on Wednesday.- Photo: Anand Singh
The apex court has criticised the government for lack of urgency in cleaning the Ganga. The polluted river as seen on Wednesday.- Photo: Anand Singh

Unhappy with the government’s affidavit setting out its plans to clean the Ganga, the Supreme Court on Wednesday said it wanted to monitor the progress made in efforts to restore the river and asked for a roadmap.

It is better if you can show us a PowerPoint presentation. Also, fix  milestones so that we can assess the progress, a Bench comprising Justices T.S. Thakur and R. Banumathi said.

 “It seems the Ganga will not be cleaned even after 200 years,” the Bench observed after perusing an affidavit filed by the Director of the National Mission for Clean Ganga, which outlined plans to rejuvenate the river and its ecology.

The affidavit was filed through Solicitor-General Ranjit Kumar following the Supreme Court’s criticism of the government for the decline in “urgency” in fulfilling its poll promise to purify the 2,500-km river. The court was hearing a 29-year-old PIL petition filed by advocate M.C. Mehta on cleaning of the river and setting up sewage treatment plants alongside it.

The affidavit said professionals from seven IITs were preparing a comprehensive Ganga River Basin Management report. A report would be filed by December-end. It said purification of the Ganga was a national priority. Restoring the ecological sanctity of the river would be the prime focus and a major step towards that would be creating awareness of river conservation and ensuring people’s participation.

But the Bench remained sceptical of the government’s assurances. It said an “artistic view” or a “vision plan” to purify the Ganga would hardly allay the layman’s apprehensions over the river.

“We don’t want to get into the nitty-gritty of committees. But we want to know how a common man will expect the cleaning process to emerge,” Justice Thakur told Mr. Kumar.

The court posted the case to September 24.

“It seems the Ganga will not be cleaned even after 200 years”

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