The Supreme Court of India has expressed its worry over the Ganga cleaning programmes, which have been going on for a long time without any results. A Bench headed by Justice T S Thakur said that the cleaning programmes have been going on for over three decades with almost no impact on the ground, and wondered whether the Government wanted to do something during this tenure or whether it would it spill over to the next term.
The apex court sought a fresh response from the Government, within six weeks, about the steps taken by it to implement the stage-wise projects for cleaning the Ganga in the states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, and West Bengal. Things got worse on recovery of as many as 110 bodies in a highly decomposed state in the Ganga and the Betwa rivers recently. The district administrations in both places claimed that these were bodies dumped into the river by poor families who could not afford a decent cremation as per Hindu rites.
Various religious groups and environmental organisations are up in arms against the state government as they view the bodies’ recovery in the
rivers as an environmental catastrophe. The Narendra Modi Government at the Centre had earlier placed before the Supreme Court a blueprint of short-term, medium-term and long-term measures involving investment worth thousands of crores of rupees to restore the glory of the holy river.
The Centre had submitted that it has identified 118 towns situated on bank of the Ganga as the first target to achieve total sanitation, including water
waste treatment and solid-waste management.
So far, seven riverfront locations have been identified by the Ministry of Water Resources for river development, Ganga rejuvenation, and for
development of ghats at Kedarnath, Haridwar, Varanasi, Kanpur, Allahabad, Patna and Delhi. As an adequate measure to this problem, the Centre has
decided to begin the Ganga cleaning by providing proper facilities to dispose of bodies and puja materials•