The 'forever clean Ganga' is not suitable for bathing- Central Pollution Control Board - Seeker's Thoughts

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The 'forever clean Ganga' is not suitable for bathing- Central Pollution Control Board

Why does Ganga matter so much?

The holy river Ganga has a prominent role in religion, which made it famous that the river was so pure that having bath in it could wash away the sins of mankind. 
The river Ganga 
Scientifically and ecologically, the river holds a crucial position as it has a rich biodiversity, until polluted and the life line of many states. Sates get water for agricultural purpose etc from either Ganga or from its tributaries in Northern India. 

Even, Ganga held crucial position in elections as well. In 2014, the agenda of one of the political party was to clean Ganga and the party came to power. In 2019 as well, it is going to impact upon the elections.
2019 and more Natural Calamities

Moreover, the importance of Ganga would be narrowed down if only connected to elections. This river is life line for many. States have been getting all the water from Ganga river. 

Is Ganga Polluted?

Even after a huge fund was created for cleaning Ganga, but no better results arrived in the end of five years.  A study was published in the end of 2018 by the Central Pollution Control Board. 
The results were shocking, as the report revealed that the water in the major stretches of West Bengal was highly polluted.  In other states, the pollution was there, and in considerable amount. 

Where is the Ganga Polluted?

The water quality of the Ganga has not shown any significant improvement either and it is deteriorating day by day. The quality of Ganga water downstream at several important locations, such as, Kanpur, Allahabad, Varanasi and Patna still continues to be a major concern for the environmentalist, as well as the common man.

Who looks after Ganga?

National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCS) is an implementing body of National Ganga Council which was set up in October 2016. The National Ganga River Basin Authority was dissolved by the River Ganga (Rejuvenation, Protection and Management) Authorities Order 2016, and NMCG was created.
Huge Amount of investment from the government could not ensure the cleaning of Ganga.
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The failures of the scheme are the fact that the ministry has ignored the social aspects of pollution in the river “government has so far adopted only engineering-centric approach to solve the problem with undue emphasis on creation of sewage treatments plants etc.

The scheme of cleaning of river failed because their catchment areas have been encroached upon and diverted for construction and development activities. The retention capacity of water/ rainwater in the catchment areas had considerably gone down due to which the river does not get recharged.

Yet another reason for the failure of cleaning Ganga is the day by day dwindling of their natural flow which has resulted in the assimilating capacity of the river.

Namami Gange Program was to create sewage infrastructure as Ganga has more faecal pollution. There have been awareness campaigns, involvement of communities yet Ganga is being more and more polluted.

CAG’s report and reasons for ' unclean Ganga'

According the report from the CAG, this new push of clean Ganga is not delivering results. The audit team samples 87 projects 73 ongoing, 13 completed and one abandoned. These projects included the 11 institutional, five afforestation, and one biodiversity. 50 projects were sanctions after April 2014/.
The Fly Ash can be a great resource

The auditor’s findings are quite startling. The government had only used $260 million of the $1.05 billion earmarked for the flagship programme between April 2015 and March 2017. All of these projects had a consistent list of programs: unused funds, an absence of a long-term plan, and delays in taking concrete action.

The report pointed out delays, lapsed or complete non-implementation in areas like cleaning of the river, installation of sewage treatment plants, and construction of household toilets.

The government failed to come out with a detailed action plan for cleaning and management plan 2015 by the consortium of seven IITs, which was formed seven years ago to prepare a plan on making the holy river pollution free.

In a nutshell, poor planning, negligence in the utilization of allotted funds, lack of coordination among various authorities are among the primary reasons that hampering the implementation of the programmes.

As a result of theses shortcoming, the water quality in the river is extremely poor as revealed through the high presence of coliform bacteria, which is often used as an indicator of diseases-causing pathogens. As the CAG, total coliform bacteria levels in all the cities of UP, Bihar and West Bengal are between 6 to 334 times higher than prescribed levels.

Apart from the allocation of the funds from the government, financial and technological resources mobilization from the private sector is given priority. For instance, captains of Indian trade and industry         have committed a support of nearly Rs 500 crores for the development of amenities like Ghats, river fronts, crematoria and parks in various places along River Ganga as a part of the Namami Gange Program. The hybrid annuity-PPP model, which is so far prevalent in large scale projects, is adopted for the sewage sector.

A way ahead 

Government lacks in connecting the implementation with intentions. There remains a huge gap between two. Punitive measures as mentioned in the draft may affect negatively, so there should be a well thought plan.  

A robust Sewage Infrastructure is needed, and there has to be steps to increase river’s ecology.  There have been volunteer contribution in the process of cleaning Ganga, and planting trees, however, there is a great need to do more, and involve people. Therefore, it can be concluded that government should look at administrative and implementation front, as well as calculative punishments can be taken.
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