Skip to main content

Cost hurdle in Ganga clean up adds to "reduced" natural flow beyond Kanpur due to agricultural pressure: Report

Polluting coal-fired power plant along Ganga in West Bengal
Counterview Desk
A media study team, investigating pollution levels of Ganga three years after the Narendra Modi government came up with its Ganga Action Plan to clean up India's most revered river, has revealed that only 10 per cent of the sewage produced along the mainstream of the river, and collected over its 2,500 km stretch, is treated.
Quoting officials, a report by the investigation team insists that the focus on industry and sewerage treatment plants (STPs) has been "misguided", what has still not been addressed is a "deeper problem" -- the dwindling flow of Ganga. "Over 90 per cent of water is diverted for agriculture before the river reaches Kanpur about halfway through its journey, leaving it unable to flush out pollution or dilute the toxins", it says.
Quoting sources from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the investigation report says, from the glaciers of the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal, the river collects toxic waste from half billion of people. However, it believes, cleaning up the waste faces a major cost hurdle.
The cost involved in "cleaning up" Ganga in West Bengal alone, the report says, is huge – just to build "the necessary sewerage plants would require an extra INR 13,467 crore (USD 2 billion) and another INR 100 crore (USD 15 million) a year for repairs – a money the state does not have."
"In the past, the central government funded all the costs of setting up and running effluent treatment plants along the Ganga. Now, under the National Mission for Clean Ganga, it has decided the cash strapped state governments will have to take over", the investigation says.
The report says, while "the iconic ghats of Varanasi and the toxic tanneries of Kanpur" have received considerable attention, what is little known is, "over 7 billion litres of raw sewerage are dumped into the Ganga every day from hundreds of towns along the river and its tributaries, and almost half comes from West Bengal."
Quoting Kalyan Rudra, chairman of the West Bengal Pollution Control Board and a hydrologist who has been tracking the state of the river for many years, the report says, "The state contributes 48% of wastewater produced in the Ganga basin and only treats 42% of this – leaving 1,779 MLD (million litres a day) of untreated waste flowing from the 54 drains throughout the state."
“Untreated sewerage is the biggest problem,” Rudra is quoted as saying, adding, "It accounts for about 85 per cent of the pollution in the river. The rest comes from industrial heavy metals, pesticides from agriculture, solid waste, human bodies and animal carcasses."
The report says, "At its worst in West Bengal, the river contains 160,000 faecal coliform bacteria per 100 ml, a clear sign of human excreta (the World Health Organisation puts the safe limit at 1,000 per 100 ml). The problem is more widespread."
The problem remains intact even after West Bengal closing down "95 heavily polluting industries, along with the 94 shut down in Uttar Pradesh", the report says, adding, "Travelling up the Bhagirathi-Hooghly from Kolkata, a series of illegal cottage industries amid banana plantations, dirty brick kilns and coal-fired power stations can be seen pumping out waste into the river."

Comments

TRENDING

Allow international human rights observers, media to access Kashmir: US lawmakers

Counterview Desk
In a letter to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, two members of the American Congress, Pramila Jayapal and James McGovern, raising "significant concerns" about what they call "humanitarian and human rights crisis in Jammu & Kashmir”, quoting "credible reports" from journalists and advocates on the ground" have said that "the Indian government has detained thousands of people with no recourse, imposed de facto curfews on residents' and cut off internet and telephone access in the region.”

Rescind Gates Foundation award to Modi, demand three Nobel Peace laureates

Counterview Desk
In a major boost to those opposing the award to the Gates Foundation’s proposed to be awarded to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his Swacch Bharat Abhiyan, three Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Mairead Maguire (1976), Tawakkol Abdel-Salam Karman (2011) and Shirin Ebadi (2003), have in an open letter called upon Milinda and Bill Gates to withdraw their decision, stating Modi is allegedly involved in human rights violations.

US Kashmiri diaspora body: World leaders, UN 'not acting', India enjoys total impunity

Counterview Desk
Ahead of the United Nations General Assembly session, to begin on September 17 in New York, Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, secretary-general of the World Kashmir Awareness Forum, a non-profit organization based in Ohio, US, claiming to focus on providing information on Kashmir, has regretted that despite "violent" behaviour of Indian authorities in Kashmir, they enjoy "total impunity" across the world.

Jharkhand riverine terminal: 485 families 'displaced', lose land, livelihood in Sahibgunj

Counterview Desk
Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposes to inaugurate on Thursday India’s second riverine Multi-Modal terminal (MMT) at Sahibganj in Jharkhand, built at a cost of Rs 290 crore reportedly in a record time of about two years, several civil rights organizations* have said that the government has failed to address the high-profile terminal’s social and environmental concerns.

Now clampdown on rally, arrest of pro-freedom activists in Pak-occupied Kashmir

Counterview Desk
In a fresh evidence, international human rights organizations are not just confining their attention on the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K), whose special status was taken away by the Government of India in early August, leading to an unprecedented clampdown on the region. They have simultaneously begun focusing on the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), where the situation is said to be worsening.
Thus, the International Human Rights Council ((IHRC) Hong Kong (HK), a top human rights organisation, said to be working towards to the promotion peace, equality, fundamental rights and social justice “as enunciated in the UN Human Rights Charter and other instruments of human rights”, has noted now a new wave of independence movement has struck PoK.  With offices in US, UK, Switzerland and Hong Kong, and having Kirity Roy and Lenin Raghuvanshi as IHRC office bearers from India, in a statement, it has claimed that on September 7 one of the biggest pro-Independenc…

Gujarat's incomplete canals: Narmada dam filled up, yet benefits 'won't reach' farmers

Even as the Gujarat government is making all out efforts to fill up the Sardar Sarovar dam on Narmada river up to the full reservoir level (FRL), a senior farmer rights leader has said the huge reservoir, as of today, remains a “mirage for the farmers of Gujarat”.
In a statement, Sagar Rabari of the Khedut Ekta Manch (KEM), has said that though the dam’s reservoir is being filled up, the canal network remains complete. Quoting latest government figures, he says, meanwhile, the command area of the dam has been reduced from 18,45,000 hectares (ha) to 17,92,000 ha.
“According to the website of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd, which was last updated on Friday, while the main canal, of 458 km long, has been completed, 144 km of ranch canals out of the proposed length of 2731 km remain incomplete.
Then, as against the targeted 4,569 km distributaries, 4,347 km have been constructed, suggesting work for 222 km is still pending. And of the 15,670 km of minor canals, work for 13,889 km ha…

Karma tribal festival an occasional to campaign for tribal rights: IPMSDL

The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL), in a solidarity statement has suggested that the current Karam festival of Central India -- which seeks to promote sisterhood, friendship, cultural unity, and closer link to nature -- should be the occasion to campaign against alleged efforts to violently drive away forest dwelling communities from their forest homes.
"Millions are threatened to lose lands and livelihood under the implementation of Forest Rights Act (FRA) of 2006", the statement States, adding, "As corporate interests continues to enter tribal territories and extract profit from its natural resources, indigenous people are pushed to further marginalization and discrimination."
Asserting that indigenous movement in India "remains steadfast in keeping their culture, deeply linked to their lands alive by carrying out their heritage and struggles", IPMSDL, even as extending "warmest greetings"…

South Gujarat wastewater carrying pipeline damaged, 'harming' farmlands

The pipeline carrying industrial wastewater to the Gulf of Khambhat from Jhagadia industrial estate in Bharuch district has been found to have damaged for the eighth time over the last one and a half months. The crack, says a local environmental organisation, has occurred at Hansot, endangering agricultural farms.

US Air Force expert smells regional security threat following Chandrayaan mission

Counterview Desk
A United States Air Force expert, writing on India’s Chandrayaan -2 mission, has expressed the apprehension that Indian moon probe’s “failure” won’t stop an Asian space race that “threatens regional security.” Affiliated with the US Air Force School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, Wendy Whitman Cobb, who is Professor of Strategy and Security Studies, believes like other space powers, India may be “seeking to improve its technology”, but advances can “also bring greater security concerns.”
Currently, admits Cobb, “These efforts have been primarily civilian and peaceful in nature.” However, India’s turn toward the military uses of space, so much so that lately it has been developing its own military satellites providing services such as remote sensing, tracking and communications “with greater frequency” has begun to “concern” the neighbours.
In her disclosure statement to an article published in the e-journal “The Conversation” Cobb, however, states that whatever…

Ceramic worker dies: 20,000 workers in Thangadh, Gujarat, 'risk' deadly silicosis

Even as the country was busy preparing for the Janmashtami festival on Saturday, Hareshbhai, a 46-year-old ceramic worker from suffering from the fatal lung disease silicosis, passed away. He worked in a ceramic unit in Thangadh in Surendranagar district of Gujarat from 2000 to 2016.
Hareshbhai was diagnosed with the disease by the GCS Medical College, Naroda Road, Ahmedabad in 2014. He was found to be suffering from progressive massive fibrosis. He is left behind by his wife Rekha sister and two sons Deepak (18) and Umesh (12),
The death of Hareshbhai, says Jagdish Patel of the health rights group Peoples Training and Research Centre (PTRC), suggests that silicosis, an occupational disease, can be prevented but not cured, and the Factory Act has sufficient provisions to prevent this.
According to Patel, the pottery industry in the industrial town of Thangadh has evolved for a long time and locals as well as migrant workers are employed here. There are about 180 units in in the to…