Eleven committees have been constituted and Rs 1,000 crore sanctioned for the Ganga Action Plan, but the river remains polluted.
Annoyed over this and the unexplained utilisation of the money allocated for cleaning Ganga, the Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Planning Commission not to permit any further release of funds without verifying the expenditure incurred for its implementation.
A bench comprising Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan and Justice RV Raveendran asked the member (Water Resource), Planning Commission, to look into the utilisation certificate submitted by the state governments who are concerned with the project. It further directed that the funds should not be released without obtaining the utilisation certificate from the states.
It asked Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand to place before the Ministry of Environment and Forest the utilisation certificate of funds, which they had to do as per its order. Two other states — West Bengal and Uttarakhand — which are among the five states covered under the plan, have already submitted the utilisation certificate of the funds.
The bench was visibly upset when it noted that out of the Rs 949 crore allocated by the Centre, around Rs 761 crore has been utilised, while the water quality of the river has deteriorated.
Advocate Kishan Mahajan, who is assisting the court, informed it that the industrial pollution has gone unchecked on the 2,500 km stretch of river Ganga, which passes through 29 major cities, 23 small cities and 48 towns.
Mahajan submitted his report stating that the Centre has spent funds in constituting seven committees while four committees were formed at the state leve.