The National Green Tribunal today took the Uttar Pradesh government and its agencies to task over cleaning of Ganga and asked them to submit a detailed plan on how they intend to spend money allotted by the Centre under the “Namami Gange” programme. The green panel said that the Uttar Pradesh Jal Nigam along with various wings of the UP government has failed to perform it fundamental duties and has done “nothing” since its inception in 1975 for betterment of Ganga.
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“Ganga is a national project and a lot is expected from the authorities. The Centre has allotted a budget of Rs 20,000 crore for the next 5 years under the ‘Namami Gange’ programme. You (UP government) tell us how do you plan to spend money for rejuvenation of Ganga,” a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.
The observation came after the UP Jal Nigam told the bench that there was variation in the number of drains and the quantum of industrial effluents discharged in river Ganga.
The hearing remained inconclusive and will continue on Thursday.
“Namami Gange” is an integrated Ganga conservation mission under the National Ganga River Basin Authority of the Ministry of Water Resources and River Development which is aimed at cleaning Ganga in a comprehensive manner by involving states, urban local bodies and panchayats.
The tribunal had directed the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), the implementing wing for rejuvenation of the river, to apprise it about the expenditure details of the Rs 20,000 crore budget granted to it for cleaning and protection of Ganga.
The Alkilesh Yadav government had earlier told the NGT that the possibility of shifting the tanneries located on the banks of the river at Kanpur to some other place is almost “next to impossible” due to lack of land.
A consortium of seven IITs had told the tribunal that multiplicity of authorities, lack of assistance from state governments and dearth of monitoring has led to the failure to clean Ganga.
On November 15, the tribunal had stopped the Centre from spending “a single penny” for Ganga rejuvenation work between Haridwar and Unnao, saying a whopping Rs 20,000 crore was being spent on the entire national project by officials who did not even know about the river.