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Clean Ganga Mission: NGT summons top officers from all agencies

The NGT also indicated that it was ready to issue directions to close down the tanneries operating near the Ganga river in Kanpur, and "shift the total industrial complex" to a different location.

Written by Aneesha Mathur | New Delhi |
October 8, 2015 2:00:47 am

NGT, clean ganga, clean ganga mission, ganga news, ganga pollution, latest news, india news, ngt ganga

Unhappy over the slow pace of work on the Ganga cleaning project, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Wednesday came down heavily on the National Mission on Clean Ganga (NMCG) and the Central Pollution Control board (CPCB). The tribunal also summoned senior officers of the NMCG, the Ministry of Water Resources, the CPCB and the UP Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) to appear before it on Friday to spell out a “clear stand” on the cleanup drive.

“You are trustee of the projects, all money, all projects are with you…tell us one thing you have done so far that has succeeded,” said the bench headed by Justice Swatantar Kumar, while pulling up the NMCG.

“Your only job is to clean the Ganga. In 2500 km, let us see which section you have actually cleaned,” observed the bench, noting that “millions of rupees” had been spent on the Clean Ganga Mission so far.

The NGT also indicated that it was ready to issue directions to close down the tanneries operating near the Ganga river in Kanpur, and “shift the total industrial complex” to a different location.

The bench has now given one day to the NMCG to analyse the amount of the waste generated and sent to the Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) set up for 700 tanneries in the area. The NMCG has been told to file a report on Friday on whether there was any improvement in the quality of the output that was ultimately being discharged into the Ganga.

The green tribunal directed the “official dealing with the Ganga” to be present before the bench on Friday to take a “clear stand” on the issue of the tanneries, sugar and paper mills that discharge effluents into the river.

“All of you sit down and find out if it is possible to make all these units as zero discharge units…you have only two options: do or close,” said the bench.

The bench also asked the UPPCB and other agencies to submit reports on whether any of the industrial units identified in Unnao, Hardwar and two other sites were “actually complying” with the directions to reduce effluents.

Irked by UPPCB counsel’s argument that the river and its tributaries did not have enough water for treatment plants to work, the bench said: “There are so many rivers in the region, how can you say you have no water? You build houses in the flood plain, you throw thousand times more sewage than water capacity, how will there be any water flow?”

The UPPCB later told the bench that the state’s advocate general will be present on Friday to detail the steps taken by the government.

Asking all agencies concerned to give their proposals and the list of steps already taken, the bench stated that it planned to issue “harsh directions” with regard to cleaning up of the river in the first phase from Gomukh to Kanpur.

The directions were issued on a plea filed by environmentalists and advocate MC Mehta on cleaning up the Ganga.

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