As the Centre plans to clean up the Ganga, ‘Water Man of India’ Rajendra Singh has made a strong pitch for stopping flow of wastewater into the river, and said it should instead be recycled and used for agriculture and industry.
“In order to improve health of Ganga, it is required not to let wastewater flow into the river. It should be recycled and used for cultivation of plants like sugarcane or industries. We can cultivate sugarcane using ‘B’ class or ‘C’ class (treated water) or supply it to industries.
“Ganga is a source of ‘A’ class water, which is drinkable and pure. Such water should be used strictly for potable purposes and cultivation of vegetables which require less water. This will ensure lesser water is withdrawn from the river and its flow improves,” Singh said.
A winner of Stockholm Water Prize, Singh also suggested allowing cultivation of sugarcane, requiring excess water, in areas located below the level of Ganga. Whereas vegetables, which consume less water, can be planted on areas located above the level of the river, he said.
“And such plantation should be organic farming. This will give enough revenue to our farmers with quality produce.”
The Magsaysay award winner further said such measures will result in lesser contamination of the river water and improved flow.
“Lesser water withdrawal will also mean more water remains in the river and it flows to cleanse itself. Thus, its environmental and ecological flow will be better, improving its health. When flow is proper, it will also reduce encroachment along its banks,” Singh said.
The Centre has started a national mission to clean the ‘holy’ Ganga, which traverses five states — Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal — during its course of 2,525 km before flowing into the Bay of Bengal.
Dispelling concerns over alleged slow progress in implementation of the National Mission for Clean Ganga — ‘Namami Gange’, Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti had last week said the NDA government is committed towards making the Ganga “one of the cleanest” rivers in the world by October 2018.