Tracking the Clean Ganga Project: Ground-level Programmes Recommended
Sriprakash Jaiswal, an erstwhile union minister, has lashed out at the Clean Ganga programme. He has stated that in order to clean the river, steps have to be taken at the ground level. Jaiswal has stated that just words coming from ministers will not be good enough to clean the river. The river gets polluted on a daily basis and this is why strong measures are needed to check the situation. In some ways, Jaiswal is rather close to the mark. Indian Government, indeed, needs to make sure that proper measures are taken to enforce whatever needs to be done to keep the river pollution-free for the foreseeable future and beyond.
Free Flow of River Water Necessary for Success of Clean Ganga Programme
BD Tripathi, a well-known environment scientist, has brushed off the Clean Ganga programme as a repetition of previous attempts to clean the river. Incidentally, all these efforts have failed owing to one reason or the other. Vishwambhar Nath Mishra, an environmentalist, has also stated that strong measures need to be initiated if the project is to be successful. Tripathi has asked the powers that be to define the meaning of Ganga jal (water of River Ganga) in the proper sense. He has pointed out that the river, which originates from Gomukh in Himalayas, is famous for its medicinal and anti-bacterial qualities. However, as per the scientist, the Clean Ganga project has not said anything about the water reaching Ganga Sagar from its source.
He has pointed out that at the moment the project is concentrating primarily on creating sewage treatment plants along the river’s course. This, as Tripathi says, shows that India has learnt from its mistakes in the past. He has pointed out that after a Ganga Action Plan was initiated in 1986 such plants were erected on fertile land used for farming. He said that the same thing is happening now as well, reiterating that he finds nothing new in the project. Tripathi has further pointed out that if Nitin Gadkari, the Surface Transport and Shipping Minister of India, wishes that ships should operate in the river, he should make sure that the river is deep enough and that there is continued flow of water. He has asked for a proper mechanism to ensure that the river keeps flowing continuously, something that will act as an indicator of its cleanliness.
Tripathi has also stated that the dams should be used properly, especially during the dry season, so as to make sure that there is sufficient flow of water to keep the river’s ecosystem flourishing. He has also said that while designing the smart cities, care should be taken to come up with sewage treatment plans so that not even one drop of such pollutant gets to Ganga.
He has pointed out that even though Ganga happens to be a perennial river, nowadays it is mostly dependent on its tributaries for its sustenance. He has also called for restrictions on the unplanned way in which boring is being done to exploit the groundwater of Ganga.
Ganga cannot be cleaned in 50 Years Says Murli Manohar Joshi
Even though BJP may be looking at cleaning up Ganga in the next few years, its prominent leader Murli Manohar Joshi has expressed a different opinion. He has said that the way the project is progressing the river won’t be cleaned in the next five decades. He has said that till the time the river has uninterrupted water flow it cannot be cleaned as such. The senior BJP leader has also questioned the justification of Nitin Gadkari’s plans of using the river as inland waterway where huge ships and cruises can be allowed to transport heavy goods.
He has stated that when big boats find it hard to traverse the river, how will ships and cruises operate in the river. Joshi has asked the Shipping Ministry to look at the present condition of the river as well as its geographical condition before going ahead with the plans.
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