More funds to prove River Ganga is special | environment | Hindustan Times
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More funds to prove River Ganga is special

Projects worth R. 425 worth were approved under the National Mission for Clean Ganga in UP and Bihar for sewage treatment infrastructure and research to prove the anti-microbial properties of the river.

environment Updated: Jul 31, 2017 16:19 IST
The Ganga river canal near Haridwar, Uttarakhand.
The Ganga river canal near Haridwar, Uttarakhand.(Malavika Vyawahare/ Hindustan TImes)

The minister of water resources is pumping more money to prove how special the Ganga is. A R. 4 crore allocation was announced Monday to fund research about the special properties of the river’s water. The decision was taken by the executive committee of the National Mission for Clean Ganga.

The funding is part of a larger package of R. 425 crore that will be used for building sewage infrastructure, development of ghats and research. The special properties project aims at validating claims that Ganga’s water have non-putrefying properties, that means the water does not go foul and are self purifying.

Hindu beliefs centre around the idea that the Ganga is a pure river, and taking a holy dip in can cleanse all sins. The study will answer more concrete questions like whether it has anti-microbial properties.

A study with the same aim was commissioned in 2015. A draft report was submitted to the ministry of water resources this year. The new funding will extend the project.

There are two ways in which the water can be shown to have medicinal properties, the presence of bacteriophages, - a class of viruses that can kill bacteria, in the water can kill bacteria and the sediments in the water possess special properties, a NEERI scientist, who was not authorised to speak to the media.

There are also 6 sewage treatment capacity building projects, with an outlay of R. 413 crore, that will be funded. The National Green Tribunal and scientific studies have repeatedly pointed out that untreated municipal waste flowing into the Ganga is a major source of pollutant.

A project that was trying to find out if the water had medicinal properties did not yield any results. “We were not able to detect any noticeable presence of organic compounds that have medicinal properties,” Dr. A K Tripathy at the Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic plants (CIMAP), said.

The government has already spent close to R 4000 crore on rejuvenating the river in the last four years. Despite its self rejuvenating properties the river may not be able to bear the levels of pollutants that are dumped into the river every day.