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

Modi, Shah 'forget': Gandhi’s first Satyagraha was against citizenship law of South Africa

By Nachiketa Desai*
Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi once on January 30, 1948 but his followers raising the war cry of ‘Jai Sriram’ are killing the Mahatma every day. In his home state of Gujarat, Gandhiji was killed a thousand times in 2002 when over 2,000 Muslims were butchered, their women raped, homes and shops plundered and set on fire and even unborn babies ripped out of the wombs of their mothers.

Union Budget 'moves away' from Right to Education, 1.3 lakh schools closed down

By Dr Aparajita Sharma*
It was a shocking reply by the Union human resource development minister to a question raised in Parliament on closure of schools in a country where lakhs of children are still out of school. On December 2, the minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, told Lok Sabha that the NITI Aayog’s education project, Sath-E, has led to 35,996 schools of different levels being merged in Madhya Pradesh, 4,312 in Jharkhand and 1,803 in Odisha. NITI Aayog is the Central Government’s policy think-tank.

CAA-NPR-NRC will 'target' 99% homeless, who are without birth certificates: NCU

Counterview Desk
Claiming to base on a survey in five states (Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu), which finds that over 99% of the homeless people do not have birth certificates, a civil rights organization which networks activists, researchers, urban practioners, lawyers, informal sector workers, has claimed that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), as also the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR), are likely to adversely impact this section the most.

Modi 'warned': Will not remain silent when women are labelled terrorists and traitors

Counterview Desk
As many as 13 women's rights organizations and 162 individuals have issued an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi stating that in the light of hate speeches during Delhi elections, especially directed against women, it is his "Constitutional duty to protect all citizens" and tell his partymen "to fight the elections in a manner that upholds the Constitution, not one that increases the fear and insecurity among women."

Law 'governing' world's tallest Statue of Unity refers to local tribals as occupiers

By Rohit Prajapati, Krishnakant*
The recently enacted Statue of Unity (SoU) Area Development and Tourism Governance Act, 2019 in Gujarat comes amidst a terrifying atmosphere of intimidation, house arrests, detentions and FIRs, not to mention the overarching implementation of Section 144 across the state.

Anti-CAA: Mallika Sarabhai joins students, faculty to protest dy CM's 'divisive' talk

By Our Representative
Taking strong exception to deputy chief minister Nitin Patel’s statement against those protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC), well-known danseuse Mallika Sarabhai has joined tens of activists and students and faculty of Gujarat University, CEPT University, Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad, Gujarat Vidyapeeth and Nirma University to say that they are seeking “azadi” from the fascist and communal forces of the country.

Ramchandra Guha on how Gandhi outgrew his Gujarati bania 'parochialism'

By Rajiv Shah
More than a fortnight ago, prominent historian Ramchandra Guha, who calls himself Gandhi scholar and not a Gandhian, came to Ahmedabad. While I was part of a small group of persons who met him at lunch, his lecture on Gandhi in the evening, where he sought to interpret what swaraj meant to Gandhi, surely, interested the selected audience that had been called to listen to him.

Mystery around Gujarat PSU 'transfer' of Rs 250 crore to Canadian firm Karnalyte

By AK Luke, IAS (Retd)*
While returning from a Board meeting of the Oil India Limited (OIL) in Ahmedabad some time in 2012, two officers of the Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd (GSFC), Nanavaty and Patel,  saw me off at the airport. They said they were proceeding to Canada in connection with a project GSFC had entered into with a company there. As we were running late, I hastily wished them the best.

Ironical? Hindutva is all 'fire and spite', as Muslim women become apostles of peace

By Sandeep Pandey*
On January 26, Republic Day, 2020, while protests simmered against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) throughout India, a dozen North American cities also witnessed historic protests. Indian Embassies have been witness to protests in the past. But this time it was different.