Meticulous monitoring and systematic approach was required for cleaning Ganga from Haridwar to Unnao, the National Green Tribunal on Monday said as it formed a committee headed by a former high court judge to oversee the river rejuvenation work.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said that Ganga rejuvenation was a “huge task” and people of eminence who devote full time were needed to achieve the desired result.
“Though some progress has been made but it cannot be said that the progress made meets the complete expectation,” the bench, also comprising justices Jawad Rahim and S P Wangdi, said.
The green panel formed a committee comprising former judge of Allahabad High Court, to be nominated by chief justice of the high court, nominees from the Central Pollution Control Board and the Indian Institute of Technology and directed it to submit a quarterly report on the work done.
The NGT asked the committee to assume charge within one month from August 6 and said it might preferably function from Kanpur but it would be open to the members to participate from the place they consider to be appropriate.
It clarified that the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) would be the nodal agency to coordinate with the committee and it would be at liberty to coordinate and provide inputs to the panel.
It also asked the NMCG, in coordination with other authorities, to prepare an action plan for the stretch starting from Unnao to Bay of Bengal within four months.
The green panel has divided the work of cleaning the river in different segments Gomukh to Haridwar (Phase-I), Haridwar to Unnao (termed as segment B of Phase-I), Unnao to border of Uttar Pradesh, border of Uttar Pradesh to border of Jharkhand and border of Jharkhand to Bay of Bengal.
The tribunal had earlier 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 had said that innocent people drank and bathed in the river with reverence, without knowing that it may adversely affect their health.
It had directed NMCG to install display boards at a gap of 100 kilometres, indicating whether the water was fit for bathing or drinking.
“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 had said.
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.