Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave top priority to cleaning the Ganga. In 2015, he launched “Namami Gange”, the Rs 20,000 crore flagship programme for this. The Modi government has spent around Rs 6000 crore for cleaning the river so far. But the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has said that the Ganga water is absolutely unfit for “direct drinking and bathing.” Even Sangam in Prayagraj is not fit for bathing. Most of the polluted and unfit Ganga water has been found with high faecal coliform bacteria at 50,000 and above levels.
Thus, the Ganga has not become any cleaner under the Modi government. An RTI has revealed that contamination levels of the river have increased at many places, even though Rs 5,523 crore was released for cleaning the Ganga between 2014 and June 2018.
According to the latest data with the CPCB, most of the Ganga water in the Uttar Pradesh-West Bengal stretch is unfit for drinking and bathing. Out of 86 live monitoring stations installed in as many locations, only seven areas have been found to be fit for drinking after disinfection process while 78 have been found unfit.
It is worth mentioning that scores of people flock to take a dip in the holy river. The Ganga is considered as the lifeline of India. It meanders 2,510 km from the Himalayas across the great northern plains and empties into the Bay of Bengal. The Ganga is one of the world’s most polluted and populous river basin. It is inhabited by around 50 crore people.
According to the latest data, only 18 spots have been found to be fit for bathing while 62 areas from where it flows have been found unfit. Some stretches in Uttarakhand and two spots in West Bengal are marked in green indicating water can be consumed after disinfection while the rest of the river water is unfit for drinking or bathing the whole way till it drains into the Bay of Bengal. The 78 monitoring stations where the river water was found unfit for drinking and bathing include Gomati river in Bhusaula-Bihar, Kanpur, Gola Ghat in Varanasi, Dalmau in Raebareli, Sangam in Allahabad, Ghazipur, Buxar, Patna, Bhagalpur, Howrah-Shivpur in West Bengal and others.
The six spots which were found fit for consumption under class A- fit for drinking after disinfection- are Bhagirathi at Gangotri, Rudraprayag, Devprayag, Raiwala- Uttarakhand, Rishikesh, Bijnor and Diamond Harbour in West Bengal.
The areas found fit for bathing under class B in river Ganga include – Bhagirathi at Gangotri, Rudraprayag, Devprayag, Raiwala- Uttarakhand, Gharmukhteshwar, Rishikesh, Bijnor, Aligarh and others, including four spots in West Bengal.