AIMS Pvt Ltd - Caring for Environment  
Know Aims Clientele Testimonials Careers News Sitemap Get a Quote Contact Us
Will Ganga Be Clean In Next 11 Yrs?  
Source:   Times of India City   : NewDelhi Published On   07-12-2009  



Attempting to silence traditional scepticism of India’s seriousness towards environmental issues, Union minister Jairam Ramesh made a big statement in Parliament promising 20-25% reduction in its carbon intensity from its 2005 level, in the next 11 years.

It’s heartening to see the minister making a commitment to the world at large and trying to entrench India’s importance among the comity of nations in the fight to choke carbon emissions, the prime cause behind global warming.

All this is fine and the minister’s statement is laudable. But, here is a small query: ‘‘Has the minister ever looked at something that is closer to his ministry than receding glaciers in the Himalayas? To be precise, has he ever thought about two major rivers — Ganga and Yamuna — gasping for breath under unbearable pollution?’’

If he has not, then here are some statistics that could help him and the government to formulate a strategy and a commitment to bring back these two rivers, which are lifelines for millions of people, back to health — possibly in 11 years.

Yamuna stinks like a drain. One feels apologetic while telling a visitor in Delhi that it really is, rather was, the sacred river called Yamuna. To stir up a slumbering government, the Supreme Court, more than 15 years ago, suo motu took up the task of monitoring the project to make the river water potable. The SC had set three deadlines — 1999, 2003 and 2005 — for the authorities to ensure that the river water was able to meet the lowest potable standards, but nothing tangible has been achieved despite an outflow of Rs 1,800 crore on various schemes to rid the river of pollutants.

Ganga has an identical story to tell. In 1987 — 22 years ago — the SC got actively involved in implementation of Ganga Action Plan (GAP), which was formulated by the Centre in 1985.

It asked tanneries at Jajmau and Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh to set up primary treatment plants or close down. ‘‘No doubt, closure of tanneries may bring unemployment and loss of revenue but life, health and ecology have greater importance to people,’’ the SC had said in M C Mehta vs Union of India [1988 SCC (1) 471].

GAP-I and GAP-II were initiated to control direct discharge of sewage and industrial effluent into the river from 29 major and 23 small cities, as well as 48 towns, from Uttarakhand to West Bengal.

The CAG has in the past taken a dim view of the implementation of the clean Ganga initiative and said Rs 1,000 crore had gone down the drain without any tangible improvement in the water quality. Rightly so, since it pointed out that most of the work was half-done and nearly 2,600 million litres of untreated sewage and effluent got into the river daily. Are these not more pressing environmental issues for the minister than carbon intensity cuts?


  © All Rights Reserved   About Us | Contact Us   Site Design & Support by Snick Technologies