With huge amounts of money being spent without any success in cleaning the Ganga, the National Green Tribunal has sought to know if the Ministries concerned have conducted any study to find out deficiencies in Ganga Action Plans I and II.
The Tribunal sought to know this following questions regarding implementation of the Action Plans.
“It is necessary for the Tribunal to know that whether the Ministries have conducted any studies on the deficiencies with which they suffered,” the NGT said, adding that it was necessary to know this before passing any judgment in relation to phase I of Ganga project.
It asked the Ministries to file any documents in sealed cover which it feels should not be in the public domain. It was said that during the Ganga Action Plan I, a total of Rs.74.8 crore was spent on cleaning up the river, while under phase II, Rs.153.73 crore was spent for cleaning from Gomukh to Haridwar.
The green panel was also informed by the Centre that Rs.6,855 crore has been spent by both the Centre and the States for cleaning up the Ganga over 30 years — from 1985 to March 31 this year.
Meanwhile, the NGT on Thursday directed that no corporation, authority or panchayat in Uttarakhand shall grant permission for construction of building, houses, hotels or any structures within 200 metres from the shore of the river at the highest flood line without prior approval from the Tribunal.
The NGT was hearing a petition filed by advocate and activist M. C. Mehta, who submitted that a buffer zone is created along the rivers in the West to save them from pollution.
Mr. Mehta said due to unregulated constructions on the banks of the river, pollutants were discharged in the river and the hills had become vulnerable to landslides and earthquakes.
The NGT has taken up the issue of the cleaning up of the 2,500-km stretch of Ganga in four phases — Gomukh to Kanpur, Kanpur to Uttar Pradesh border, Mokama Ghat in Bihar till Jharkhand border and from there to the Bay of Bengal.