The Narendra Modi-led government set aside a budget of Rs 20,000 crore to clean River Ganga from 2014-2015 to 2019-2020. However, as we move closer to its deadline, a report by the Varanasi-based Sankat Mochan Foundation (SMF) shows the river has only got more polluted over the years.
A report in The Times of India, with findings of the foundation study, says that there has been a significant increase in coliform bacteria and the biochemical oxygen demand. Both important basis to judge the pollution levels of the river water, which should remain at a minimum.
The Minister of Water Resources was Uma Bharati, who was removed in 2017 and replaced by Union Minister Nitin Gadkari. SMF, which is a non-profit, has been tracking the quality of the river for thirty years.
The SMF has a laboratory at Tulsi Ghat, which is between the Dasashwamedh and Assi ghats of Ganga.
When coliform levels should be 50 MPN (most probably number)/100 ml or less in drinking water and 500 MPN or less in water fit to bathe the levels in reality are dangerously high. SMF data quoted in The Times of India says it rose from 4.5 lakh (upstream at Nagwa) and 5.2 crore (downstream in Varuna) in January 2016 to 3.8 crore (upstream) and 14.4 crore (downstream) in February 2019.