In a severe indictment of the government’s failure to curb the massive pollution of the Ganga, Supreme Court on Wednesday said heads must roll for despite spending Rs. 20,000 crore the river continues to be contaminated.
A bench headed by Justice TS Thakur hinted at the possibility of ordering immediate closure of the 764 industries discharging effluents into the river, adding pollution could not be curtailed due to systemic failure and corruption. It said the court might consider asking the Bhure Lal Committee, which has been assisting SC in environment matters, to suggest measures to clean the river.
Both the government and the Centre for Pollution Control Board (CPCB) agreed corruption was the main scourge for pollution in the holy river. CPCB counsel Vijay Panjwani said the board officials inspecting the polluting units have been threatened for taking punitive action against them.
Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar endorsed Panjwani’s view. He said 118 towns had been identified to achieve total sanitation target including waste management and water treatment. For this, the government had involved scientists and technocrats from IITs.
Not convinced, the court said: “We intend to appoint a committee which may take steps for disconnecting the power supply. If 30% of the pollution is due to industries, you can shift them from there. You can’t shift the city, but at least, you can shift the factories.”
Apart from asking the Bhure Lal panel, the court also suggested constituting another committee headed by E Sreedharan, who spearheaded the DMRC to construct metro in Delhi, to achieve the target of a clean Ganga.