Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has roped in youths to push Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet project ‘Clean Ganga’.
To start with, RSS will ask youths to sensitise people living on the banks of the Ganga in Uttarakhand under its programme called ‘Ganga Samagrah’.
RSS has mobilised around 5,000 youths from over 200 colleges of the hill state in a three-day camp that ended on Sunday at Haridwar.
Sangh officials said ‘Ganga Samagrah’ was an independent programme. “Let the government run its programmes, RSS has its own progammes for society. Ganga cleaning is one such programme,” RSS head for Uttarakhand Dr Harish told HT.
After taking charge, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had vowed to clean the Ganga. An independent ministry for Ganga was created earlier this year.
RSS volunteers will spread out across the towns in Uttarakashi, Chamoli, Tehri Garhwal, Rudraprayag and Haridwar districts of Uttarakhand where the Ganga and its tributaries flow, and sensitise people and pilgrims to not litter the river.
Anant Bhatt, a young Sangh volunteer from Tehri Garhwal, told HT he would be “happy to be associated with the Ganga Samagarh programme since the Ganga was Uttarakhand’s lifeline”.
Ganga originates from Gaumukh in Uttarakhand and flows 2,525 km till it reaches the Bay of Bengal. Human settlements, hotels and industries along the river play a major role in dirtying the river.
The National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) estimates that the river receives 3,000 million liters of sewage daily — from Uttarakhand to West Bengal. Only 1,000 million liters of sewage is treated daily.
The former BJP government in Uttarakhand had launched ‘Sparsh Ganga’ campaign to clean up the river within its state boundaries, which flopped.
NGBRA data say the Ganga river basin covers 43% of the population in 11 states, including UP, Uttarakhand, Bihar, West Bengal and Haryana.
The Ganga River Basin Authority is working on 57 sewerage treatment plant projects with a combined capacity to treat 470.53 million liters of sewage daily. Of these, 15 projects are in Uttarakhand.