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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Ganga panel asks UP, Bihar for report on dumping of bodies

Sources said this was conveyed by NMCG to senior officials of both states during a meeting chaired by Jal Shakti Secretary Pankaj Kumar on Saturday.

Written by Harikishan Sharma | New Delhi |
Updated: May 16, 2021 7:26:48 am
The states have been asked to focus on critical districts while alerting all districts to prevent dumping of the dead bodies in river Ganga, the source said.

Days after it advised all District Ganga Committees to address the issue of bodies being dumped in the river, the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) Saturday asked Uttar Pradesh and Bihar to submit a “detailed report” in two days, it is learnt.

Sources said this was conveyed by NMCG to senior officials of both states during a meeting chaired by Jal Shakti Secretary Pankaj Kumar on Saturday.

Both states were asked to give a “detailed report” on the issue of dumping of bodies in the river as well as its tributaries, a source said.

Sources said that the impact of the floating bodies on the Ganga’s water quality was also a topic that came up for discussion.

“The CPCB has been asked to increase the frequencies of sampling of Ganga water,” said the source.

The states have been asked to focus on critical districts while alerting all districts to prevent dumping of the dead bodies in river Ganga, the source said.

“Not only throwing of dead bodies in rivers but burial in sand along rivers also needs to be prevented,” the source said.

State officials said they have issued orders to prevent such incidents and have stepped up patrolling along the ghats on rivers.

“States said that they have issued orders for supporting cremation giving financial support,” the source said.

The video conference meeting was attended by Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, Director General, NMCG; Rajnish Dubey, Additional Chief Secretary (Urban Development), Uttar Pradesh; Anurag Shrivastava, Principal Secretary, Jal Shakti, Uttar Pradesh; Anand Kishore, Principal Secretary (Urban Development), Bihar; SK Haldar, Chairman, Central Water Commission; Dr Prashant Gargava, Member Secretary, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB); and officials from State Pollution Control Boards and State Ganga Missions from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

The meeting comes three days after NMCG Director General Rajiv Ranjan Mishra wrote to Chief Secretaries of 5 states– Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal– on May 12, asking them to issue “specific directions” to the concerned district administrations, local bodies and police authorities.

“I write this to underscore the seriousness of the issue and would request you to kindly issue appropriate instructions to the concerned district administrations/local bodies and police authorities to scrupulously comply with the NMCG advisory dated 11.05.2021, as well as take necessary action at your end address the issue at the earliest,” says the letter.

Earlier this week, Mishra had issued an advisory to all 59 District Ganga Committees and asked them to take “necessary action” to address the issue of floating dead bodies in the river Ganga and submit an “action taken report” within 14 days.

“Immediately stop dumping of dead bodies, partially burnt bodies/ unclaimed or unidentified corpses in the river Ganga and its tributaries,” reads the advisory.

The District Ganga Committees are headed by the respective District Collectors and are tasked to ensure “rejuvenation, protection, restoration and rehabilitation of River Ganga and its tributaries” in each specified district.

Mishra had also asked them to ensure that “all unidentified dead bodies/unclaimed corpses of suspected Covid victims should be properly disposed-off in accordance with the Covid-safety protocol of Government of India guidelines on Covid-19 Dead Body Management.”

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