Govt to Take Action Against Ganga Polluters: Natarajan
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Urging states to take action against polluters of the Ganga, government today said it would put in place a mechanism to monitor steps to ensure that no effluents are released in the river revered across the nation.

"Let me assure the House that I will come back with a system to monitor action taken by the states against the defaulters who pollute the Ganga," Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan said replying to a discussion on the steps taken by the government to protect the river.

The minister also mooted declaring the entire stretch of the Ganga from its origin at Gaumukh in Uttarakhand till the river mouth in West Bengal as an eco-sensitive zone.

She said the government has identified 714 grossly polluting industries and letters have been issued to six industries to ensure compliance of discharge of treated waste in the river.

The state governments were being encouraged from time to time to set up sewer networks, sewage treatment plants, electric crematoria and develop river-fronts as part of steps to save the Ganga, she said.

Natarajan said 80 per cent waste emptied into the Ganga river was domestic waste while only 20 per cent was industrial effluents.

The Minister said the Centre has done its part by setting up sewage treatment plants but there were no sewer network, which was the responsibility of the urban local bodies.

She asked the state governments to make sure that the sewage treatment plants work and the sewer networks are connected to them.

Natarajan highlighted that the Ganga Action Plan was launched in 1986 by the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and the same had shown results as water quality had improved in certain highly polluted areas along the river.

"We will strain every nerve and leave no stone unturned to protect the Ganga," she said.

She insisted that the GAP was not a failure and Ganga was not as bad as was being projected.

Natarajan also pointed out that 70 per cent of the river water was being used for irrigation purposes.

Seeking to clear the air on the number of dams on the river, the minister said there were only 70 projects along the Ganga as against 400 odd claimed by some members.

She said 17 dams were have been constructed on the river, 14 were under construction and 39 projects in the pipeline.

Natarajan also urged the state governments to spend timely the funds allocated for protecting the Ganga as the ministry cannot keep the funds allocated to it parked beyond a certain period.

Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar said it was the sentiment of the entire House that the river Ganga should be saved and its purity and continuity of flow should be kept intact.
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