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Put display boards indicating if Ganga water fit for bathing: NGT

July 27, 2018 22:31 IST

The National Green Tribunal on Friday said the water of the Ganga, between Haridwar and Unnao in Uttar Pradesh, was unfit for drinking and bathing, and expressed anguish over the situation.

The green panel said that innocent people drank and bathed in the river with reverence, without knowing that it may adversely affect their health.

"Do people of this country know that Ganga water is unfit for drinking and bathing? They perform achamana (purification ritual) thinking that they will go to heaven. Can you imagine which heaven will they if they drink this polluted water," a bench, headed by NGT chairperson A K Goel, observed.

The green panel directed National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) to install display boards at a gap of 100 kilometres, indicating whether the water was fit for bathing or drinking.

The tribunal, however, said that where there was more habitation, display boards may be put at a shorter distance.

 

The green panel said that innocent people drank and bathed in the river with reverence, without knowing that it may adversely affect their health.

"People are drinking and bathing in the Ganga out of reverence and respect. They do not know that it may be dangerous to their health. If cigarette packets can contain a warning saying it is 'injurious to health', why not the people be informed of the adverse effects (of the river water)," the NGT said.

The bench, also comprising Justice S P Wangdi and expert members S S Gabrayal and Nagin Nanda, said, "We are of the view that on account of great reverence to great Ganga, innocent persons may drink, do achamana and bathe without knowing that the water is unfit for consumption.

"It is of utmost necessity to comply with the right to live of persons using Ganga water and they are put to notice about the fitness of water."

It directed the NMCG and the Central Pollution Control Board to place on their website, within two weeks, a prominent map showing where the water was good for bathing and drinking.

During the hearing, the tribunal was informed that the critical area in this segment is Jajmau in Kanpur where effluents are being discharged by the tanneries and they must strictly comply with the norms.

"The common effluent treatment plant (CETP) was required to be upgraded and made functional so that discharge of toxic effluents can be stopped.The CETP at Unnao and Banthar are required to meet prescribed standards.

"The over exploited, critical, semi critical areas are to be identified with regard to water extraction. The industries have to undertake that they do not pollute ground water by injecting pollutants and plantation work along flood plains has to be implemented," the bench noted.

The NGT also directed the CPCB and the state pollution control board to regularly take water samples from the river on a monthly basis.

The tribunal was informed that at present 36 realtime water monitoring stations were operational while 94 manual stations were functioning and another 40 are proposed to be set up.

The matter is now posted for next hearing on August 6.

Voicing dissatisfaction over the steps taken by the Uttarakhand government to clean the Ganga, the NGT had on July 19 said the situation was extraordinarily bad and hardly anything effective has been done to clean the river.

The green panel, in a detailed judgment, had passed a slew of directions to rejuvenate the Ganga, declaring as 'No Development Zone', an area of 100 metres from the edge of the river, between Haridwar and Unnao.

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