‘Don’t Scatter Ashes in the Ganga’: Minister Urges Cleanliness
Workers working at the bank of river Ganga near Jajmau.
Workers working at the bank of river Ganga near Jajmau.(Photo Courtesy: BloombergQuint)

‘Don’t Scatter Ashes in the Ganga’: Minister Urges Cleanliness

Union Minister Satyapal Singh addressed the importance of the Clean Ganga mission on 20 December, saying that the people of India need to rethink how they dispose of ashes, despite their beliefs.

Focusing on the fact that the purity of the sacred river should remain intact, the former policeman told DNA, “As per the present situation, I appeal to everyone, ashes must be buried in ground and saplings should be planted on it, so even coming generations can remember (the deceased). I urge all priests associated with rituals to create awareness among the people.”

A performance audit the previous day by the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) revealed that the Centre’s Namami Gange project had been spoiled by poor financial management and implementation in the past three years.

The CAG audit covered 87 projects worth Rs 7,992.34 crore and found out that only 8-63 percent of allotted funds were spent between 2014-15 and 2016-17, as compared to the revised estimate.

The CAG said that haywire implementation and bad planning were some of the major reasons for the funds lying unused with the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), which is the executive authority in charge of cleaning the national river.

Large quantities of untreated sewage pollutes the river across all towns and cities along it because of poor planning and numerous missed deadlines for getting work done to solve the problem.

The National Green Tribunal banned the sale, purchase and storage of plastic items like bags, plates, spoons, etc, along the river in Haridwar’s Hari Ki Pauri Rishikesh all the way up to areas in Uttarkashi.

A fine of Rs 5,000 is to be imposed on violators, according to an ANI report.

On 30 March, the chairperson had called for a meeting to be held after the UP Government informed the NGT about its wish to discuss the possibility of shifting tanneries outside Kanpur. This is contrary to the previous Samajwadi Party government’s stand, which had appealed through advocate general Vijay Bahadur Singh that scarcity of land and dependence of lakhs of people on the tannery made shifting difficult.

Within a year after assuming office, the Prime Minister asked his ministers and three chief ministers to adapt to an “uncompromising approach” to put an end to pollution in the river.

Thirty drains are directly discharging 701 million litres of wastewater per day in the key stretch of the river between Haridwar and Kanpur. 

Four drains in Kanpur carried a high concentration of Chromium, ranging from 2mg/l to 84 mg/l. "It has been observed that Ganga receives 3,048MLD of wastewater," DNA quoted the report as saying.

The Central Pollution Control Board submitted a ground report of these 30 drains on the NGT’s orders. Last October, the NGT had ordered that these drains needed to be inspected physically to record the quality of effluents going into the river and its main tributaries.

The joint inspection team comprising of CPCB, UP Pollution Control Board, UP Jal Nigam and National mission for clean Ganga inspected 25 drains disposing effluents in Ramganga, out of which the majority release domestic wastewater into the river while 26 drains release effluents into the Kali-east.

High levels of fecal coliform, above the CPCB prescribed standards, is the outcome of the direct discharge of effluents from 30 drains.

According to the report, the disposal of sewage effluent is the main cause of high levels of pollution. The stormwater drains that were designated to flood out the storm water during the rainy season are now being used to dispose of sewage effluents which ultimately join the river Ganga, the report adds.

(With inputs from DNA)

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