Expressing displeasure of the steps taken to clean river Ganga, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday asked the Uttarakhand government to take “effective measures” and take into account the views of the general public.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Adarsh Kumar Goel said that information provided “on paper” was different from the “ground reality.”
“The situation is extraordinarily bad and we cannot accept that anything has been done. It is the most prestigious river in the country which 100 crore people respect but we are unable to protect it. Let us try to make the mechanism as strong and effective as possible” the bench said during the hearing.
Taking note of the compliance report submitted by the state government, the green panel said, “Though the compliance affidavit may claim that all steps have been taken, the object of the directions in letter and spirit and effect on the ground is not adequate. It is not possible to accept that the Ganges is pollution free.”
The state government in the compliance report had said that directions had been issued to ban the use of plastic, sewage disposal, demarcation of the flood plains and prohibition of mechanised mining on the river bed.
Noting that “rigorous monitoring” is required, the green bench further directed district Ganga committees to furnish reports every fortnight, which is to be examined by the executive committee constituted by the NGT.
The executive committee has also been asked to secure reports of the tested water every month.
The Tribunal also asked authorities to conduct a survey among the “common man” and take feedback pertaining to the rejuvenation of the river.
“We are here for the common man. Go on the ground and see the disappointment they have with the ground situation. Construction activities and lack of hygiene is at a massive level” the bench said during the hearing.