The National Green Tribunal has issued bailable warrants against Haryana and Rajasthan governments for not submitting their action plan on cleaning and rejuvenation of the river Ganga. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar took strong objection to the absence of the counsel for both the states and their failure to submit the report despite its July 13 order. “Nobody is present on behalf of State of Haryana and State of Rajasthan. Consequently, we issue bailable warrant against the Resident Commissioner of State of Haryana and State of Rajasthan at New Delhi in a sum of Rs 5,000 to the satisfaction of the arresting Officer, in exercise of our powers… “They shall show cause as to why the action plan in terms of the judgement of the Tribunal have not been filed,” the bench said. The green panel also directed the resident commissioners of Madhya Pradesh and Bihar to be present before it on September 4, the next date of hearing. After passing a slew of measures to rejuvenate the Ganga between Haridwar and Unnao, the NGT has now shifted focus to clean the next stretch of the river passing through Allahabad and Varanasi. It had noted that the Supreme Court has also transferred the cleaning of the rivers Ganga and Yamuna, which is one of the major tributaries of the river, to the tribunal.
The Ganga covers a total distance of 2,525 km and flows through Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, and finally drains into the Bay of Bengal. The important tributaries of the Ganga are the Yamuna, Kali, Ramganga, Ghaghra, Gandak, Kosi and Sone. Major cities like Kanpur, Allahabad, Varanasi, Patna and Kolkata, which are located on the banks of the river, draw water from it to meet their requirement and almost the entire waste water generated by these centres is deposited into it.
In a detailed verdict, the NGT had passed a slew of directions to rejuvenate the Ganga, declaring as ‘No- Development Zone’ an area of 100 metres from the edge of the river between Haridwar and Unnao and prohibiting dumping of waste within 500 metres from the river. The green panel has divided the work of cleaning the river into different segments — Gomukh to Haridwar, Haridwar to Kanpur, Kanpur to the border of UP, the border of UP to the border of Jharkhand and from the border of Jharkhand to the Bay of Bengal.