After passing a slew of measures to rejuvenate the Ganga between Haridwar and Unnao, the National Green Tribunal has now shifted focus to clean the next stretch of the river passing through Allahabad and Varanasi. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar has convened a meeting of all stakeholders involved in cleaning of the river from Unnao in Uttar Pradesh to the state’s border with Bihar to chalk out an action plan for cleaning the Ganga. “The judgement in relation to segment-B of Phase-I from Haridwar to Unnao has been pronounced. Let the directions be complied with without any default. Now, we are concerned with Phase-II from Unnao to the border of UP (with Bihar). “Since the border of UP is common with Bihar, we direct to hold a chamber meeting for drawing of the action plan, opinion and the views of the stakeholders, on July 24, 2017 at 3:00 PM,” the bench said.
The green panel 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. It directed the additional secretaries of the central ministries of environment, water resources, urban development, the executive director of the National Mission for Clean Ganga and the chief secretaries of UP, Rajasthan, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar to be present in the meeting besides the chairman and member secretaries of all these state pollution control boards. “All these officers should be fully aware of the steps that the state and its instrumentalities concerned propose to take in relation to cleaning and rejuvenation of river Ganga and its tributaries in Phase-II. They must inform the tribunal about all the relevant factors in that regard,” the bench said.
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, the Kali, the Ramganga, the Ghaghra, the Gandak, the Kosi and the Sone. Various urban centers 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 centers 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 meters from the edge of the river between Haridwar and Unnao and prohibiting dumping of waste within 500 meters 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.