Members, cutting across party lines, in Rajya Sabha expressed grave concern over the rising contamination of river Ganga as Environment and Forest Minister A Raja said Rs 7000 crore more were needed to clean up the holy river.
"Even after spending more than Rs 1387 crore, cleaning of Ganga will need another Rs 7000 crore", Raja said replying to supplementaries during Question Hour.
Stating that stern action was being taken against polluting industries. He said, 237 industries have been closed down and 600 given notice for failing to take precautionary measures in this regard.
Chairman Bhairon Singh Shekhawat asked the Minister to prepare a detailed statement on the issue to make it available whenever a discussion is taken up on the matter.
In his reply, Raja said as per an independent evaluation done by University of Bath and Metroeconomica, United Kingdom, and the Institute of Economic Growth, New Delhi, the Ganga Action Plan compares favourably, both in terms of cost and time taken, with those of other major rivers like Thames.
Ganga Action Plan (GAP) Phase-I, from 1985 to 2000, and GAP Phase-II, which includes tributaries like Yamuna, Gomti, Damodar and Mahananda, has seen a total expenditure of Rs 1387.71 crore.
The completion of GAP Phase II and I had improved water quality of the river Ganga from Rishikesh to Kannauj but the section from Kannauj to Allahabad had worsened, the Minister said.