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The National Green Tribunal Tuesday rapped Uttar Pradesh government for wasting crores of rupees of public money on Ganga rejuvenation and restrained it from spending on any major project except maintenance work on the stretch from Haridwar to Kanpur.
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“The State of Uttar Pradesh and its authorities will not carry out any major project of Sewage Treatment Plant (STP)/Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) except maintenance of pipelines, without specific direction of the NGT,” a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.
The displeased green panel bench, which also comprised Justice U D Salvi, passed the order after Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and state authorities including UP Jal Nigam failed to state the total number of industrial units and the quantum of industrial waste discharged by them into Ganga.
The tribunal, which is hearing final arguments by different stakeholders on mechanism to clean river Ganga in segment starting from Haridwar to Kanpur, said the authorities were spending large amount of money on various projects even without knowing the requisite details.
“Tell us about total number of industries located from Haridwar to Kanpur. It has been brought to our notice by advocate M C Mehta that there were almost lakh industries on Segment B. However, according to Central Pollution Control Board there are only 1072 industries.
“Unless and until we know how many industries are there, how can we proceed? How do we pass a judgement based on incorrect information? We are not like you,” the bench said.
It asked the CPCB to file a comparative chart showing all the drains which join Ganga from Haridwar to Kanpur and points where industrial effluents are discharged into the river. The bench also asked it to file details about the existing STP and CETP and inform whether they were functional or not and also state whether they were capable of treating various pollutants, sewage and bacteria.
“All this shall be shown in different colours and signed by the concerned authorities,” the tribunal said.
During the hearing, CPCB told the NGT that 30 drains joined Ganga in segment B (Haridwar to Kanpur) and there was an urgent need to install effluent treatment plants at these points.
This was contested by advocate Gaurav Bansal, who has filed petition against disposal of dead bodies in the river, saying there were 33 drains on the stretch from Moradabad to Bareilly itself.
Further, the apex pollution monitoring body said Ganga spanned across over 2,500 km in length and its water was being used by a large population living on its bank.
In such a situation, it is very difficult for authorities to check pollution in the river, it said. Uttar Pradesh government told the NGT that as per estimates, at present 1382.36 million litre per day sewage is generated and only 300 million litre per day get treated in treatment plants.
The hearing will continue tomorrow. The green panel had divided the work of cleaning the river into different segments — Gomukh to Haridwar, Haridwar to Kanpur, Kanpur to border of Uttar Pradesh, border of Uttar Pradesh to border of Jharkhand and border of Jharkhand to Bay of Bengal.
On December 11 last year, the tribunal had imposed a complete ban on use of plastic of any kind from Gomukh to Haridwar along the river from February 1 and decided to slap a penalty of Rs 5,000 per day on erring hotels, dharamsalas and ashrams spewing waste into the river.