A week after BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi claimed that he would clean up the river Ganges in Varanasi the way he cleaned up the polluted Sabarmati river in Gujarat, several teams of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Wednesday descended on the Sabarmati riverbed down the Vasna barrage and collected water samples for chemical analysis to prove that the river Sabarmati was itself polluted and the claims of Modi were not true.
A total of 30 samples, taken from the river from seven different places, have been sent to a private laboratory in Ahmedabad and its report would be released to media at a press conference to be addressed by AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal in Varanasi on Friday. Kejriwal is contesting the Lok Sabha elections from Varanasi, challenging Modi, who is also fighting from there.
Patel said that the private laboratory has been asked for a detailed analysis to find out various types of contamination and toxic level. The report, he said, would be available on Thursday evening. The exercise is being undertaken after Modi claimed at a public meeting in Varanasi that he had completely cleaned up the river Sabarmati after he became the chief minister in 2001 and he would similarly make the Ganges in Varanasi pollution-free after he becomes the Prime Minister. Modi’s claim was apparently intended to exploit the religious sentiments of the people attached with the holy river which is highly polluted in Varanasi.
Patel said that AAP teams visited the river passing through seven villages near Ahmedabad and found that the river was highly polluted. “The river water at all these places was coloured and highly polluted, giving an extremely repelling smell,” said Patel. He said that one of the teams also collected samples from a borewell at Sarola village and it was found to be coloured and stinking.
“It were BJP activists who took AAP team to a borewell and helped it to collect samples of coloured water in Sarola village,” claimed Patel. He said that the Sabarmati water, polluted by industrial waste, was not only not-potable, but also unfit for agriculture purposes. Patel said that the chemicals present in the industrial water released into the river had seeped deep and contaminated underground water, indicated by the coloured water found at Sarola village. “We will tell the nation how Sabaramati river, polluted by industrial waste, is contributing to the contamination of the underground water in villages on its bank and the claims of BJP’s PM candidate are not based on facts,” said Patel.
Patel said that his party had launched a two-day yatra on Wednesday from Gyaspur (Ahmedabad) to Khambhat in Anand district to collect water samples in villages to find out the pollution of the rivers in that area as also underground water, which was the only source of drinking water in rural areas. After May 16, Patel said that AAP would hold a programme at Vautha village, near Dholka, which is the confluence point for seven rivers, including Sabarmati.
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“I will invite State Water Resources Minister Narottam Patel and other ministers of the Gujarat government to take a dip at Vautha if they feel that water there is clean and not polluted,” he said. “A religious assembly is held there on the occasion of every Poonam, but people avoided taking bath because of allergy and skin diseases reported to have been caused by the polluted water at Vautha,” he added.