Why dip in interest in purifying Ganga: SC

A file picture shows a mega cleaning up of Ganga canal by Dera Sach Sauda volunteers and public in Harik Pauri at Haridwar. Photo: Virender Singh Negi.  

The Supreme Court on Wednesday questioned the dip in "urgency" the BJP-led NDA government is showing in the Ganga river purification project, asking if plans to purify the 2,500 km long river is now in the "backburner".

"Purification of the Holy River was part of your manifesto. This important issue... is it now in the front burner or backburner?" a Bench led by Justice T.S. Thakur asked Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar on Wednesday.

Justice Thakur said important issues like the cleaning of the Holy River are relegated to the backburner, while other not so pressing ones are brought to the front burner.

Mr. Kumar responded that the project was shifted from the ministry of environment to the water resources ministry, and this had led to slight hiccups. He assured the court of immediate action.

"In this matter you said there is urgency... now there is no urgency for you. You are shuttling it between two ministries while people are looking forward to this project..." Justice Thakur observed.

The Supreme Court was hearing an over two-decade old PIL filed by advocate M.C. Mehta on the cleaning of the river and setting up sewage treatment plants alongside it.

During the hearing, counsel for the Central Pollution Control Board said the construction of STPs is an expensive venture. He asked what would be the point of having these plants when there are not even proper drains along the river.

Justice Thakur suggested to the government that the purification of the River water can be done in portions of 100km at a time instead of trying to clean the entire length of the river at one go.

The Bench gave the government a week's time to file an affidavit detailing the status of the Ganga purification project. The court also agreed that the new government would definitely require time to settle down, "put their heads together" and prepare a comprehensive plan on the Ganga project.

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Printable version | Oct 19, 2021 8:19:03 AM |

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