The National Green Tribunal has told the state government there should be no effluent discharge into the Ganga after 27 October, 2015, said an industry representative who attended the hearing of the tribunal in New Delhi on a case filed against polluters of the river.
The tribunal had called industry and government representatives for the court hearing in a case filed by Kishen Kant Singh against polluting industries and ashrams along the Ganga, which has been an Augean stable that has eaten up billions of rupees in clean-up programmes patronized by different governments. A recent parliamentary committee report said in all Rs 2.2 lakh crore had been spent over 32 years on Ganga cleaning drive, and the Modi-led government expects its fresh clean-up drive to cost Rs 80,000 crore.
Chief secretary Rakesh Sharma and secretary of urban development DS Garbyal represented the government while president of Industries Association of Uttarakhand Pankaj Gupta represented the industries.
“The state government representatives told NGT that there were almost negligent polluting industries on the stretch from Gomukh to Haridwar in Uttarakhand,” said Pankaj Gupta.
“The total number of severely polluting industries in the state is 298, which include sugar mills, distilleries, paper mills, textile mills and chemical industries but they do not discharge their effluents into the Ganga river and have effluent treatment plants,” said Gupta.
The state informed the court there were 684 hotels, restaurants and dharamshalas on the river banks from Gomukh to Haridwar and 873 ashrams. Of these, 1212 have septic tanks, 460 are linked to sewer lines and 7 are directly discharging their effluents into the Ganga river.
“The NGT said all the industries and ashrams must install their own sewage treatment plants or set up septic tanks, failing which, action would be taken against them,” said Gupta.
“There has to be no sewage or effluent discharge into the Ganga river, need controlled activity at the ghats, strict ban on plastics, glass bottles and eatables. The pilgrims can take Ganga Jal in cans,” said the NGT.
“The government also apprised the tribunal 15 industries had been served closure notice, 19 were served show-cause notices and the application of one industry was refused for pollution related offences.”
The state has told the tribunal they would be installing a sewage treatment plant of 40-MLD capacity in Haridwar.