SC raps Centre over clean Ganga

Updated - December 04, 2021 11:37 pm IST

Published - October 16, 2014 04:53 am IST - NEW DELHI

The Supreme Court on Wednesday expressed disappointment with the Centre for its lack of a long-term vision to clean the river Ganga.

A three-judge Bench of Justices T.S. Thakur, A.K. Goel and Ms. R. Banumathi told Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, appearing for the Centre: “You are unable to tell us your vision stage-wise on cleaning the holy river Ganga and your ultimate aim. This case is pending in this court for the last 29 years and nothing concrete has been done. We don’t want to wait for another 29 years. We also understand it can’t be done overnight, but you should have an expert who has a vision on cleaning the Ganga like the former Delhi Metro chief Sreedharan who had a vision for the metro project.”

Expressing his anguish Justice Thakur said: “If the discharge of industrial pollutants into the river was stopped, 30 per cent of the Ganga would be clean. Corruption was stalling the clean Ganga project and heads must roll for this. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), a statutory body which is to take effective steps, is not in a position to stop the polluting units from discharging effluents into the river. Units are being allowed to run accepting bribe. This is breeding corruption and the board is not doing its work.”

The Bench asked the Centre to explain why the post of chairperson of the CPCB has remained vacant for the past six months. It directed the CPCB to explain what action it had taken against the 215 industries situated along the Ganga which had been charged with polluting the river.

Mr. Ranjit Kumar conceded that corruption was a major hurdle but said the government was committed to cleaning the river. He said a consortium of seven IITs was involved in the project and it would give a report by December and a roadmap would emerge. He said the government had issued notices to industries to implement zero pollution within three months and sought a compliance report.

The Bench asked the Centre to file an updated status report.

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