Government is working to bring a law having stringent provisions against polluters, Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti announced today, saying industrial and sewage waste discharged into river Ganga was the primary source of its pollution.
Replying to supplementaries in Rajya Sabha during Question Hour, the Minister said the government is proposing to bring the law in consultation with states to act against polluting industries.
“The primary reason for pollution of Ganga is sewage and industrial waste discharged into the river and not the religious materials which flow into it.
“Ganga has been polluted for many years and there is concern all over the world about it, but not even one person has gone to jail so far. We are committed to act strongly against those polluting river Ganga.
There are 764 industries located along the river Ganga. We are proposing a law in consultation with states to act against polluting industry,” Bharti said.
The Minister noted that religious materials which flow into the river were not the main source of its pollution. These only add to the pollution if the flow of water is blocked, she said.
Government is carrying out a survey for resolving the issue of discharge of religious material into the river by evolving a project connecting the livelihood of people living along the river, which will be implemented soon after the survey report comes, she said.
Asked if the dams constructed on the river during previous regimes were hindering the flow of its water, the Minister said a treaty was signed between British rulers and Madan Mohan Malviya and others for ensuring relentless flow of water in the river, to which the government is committed and Ganga will be cleaned up.
“There are concerns the world over on cleanliness of the river. The Ganga river is pure from the issue of reverence but not in reality, as there is presence of chemicals in the water and government is working on cleaning it up,” she said.
The Minister said Rs 20,000 crore has been earmarked under “Namami Gange” project which will help clean the river. The first phase will be completed by this year and the second phase by October 2018, she said.
Bharti also said that hi-tech equipment is being deployed to bring water from Ganga’s tributaries back into the river.