Several ashrams in the twin pilgrim towns of Haridwar and Rishikesh are reportedly polluting the Ganga by dumping unprocessed sewage directly into the river, a report by the Uttarakhand Pollution Control Board (UPCB) has claimed.
The Ganga originates from Gaumukh in Uttarakhand and flows 2,525 kilometers till the Bay of Bengal. The report comes after the government instituted a campaign last year to clean the river — considered holy in the country — that receives over 3,000 million litres of sewage each day. According to the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA), only one-third of the waste is treated each day.
The study found that 77% of the ashrams surveyed last month did not have sewage treatment plants.
“We conducted this study in 22 major ashrams in Haridwar and Rishikesh. Only five were found having operational sewerage treatment plants,” Ankur Kansal, regional officer, UPCB, told HT on Sunday.
According to Kansal, the board has sent its report to the National Green Tribunal for further consideration.
Ashrams named in the report have refused to comment on the issue. Officials of the Shaktikunj Ashram, one of the biggest in Haridwar whose name figures in the list, remained tight-lipped when the reporter approached them.
According to the Uttarakhand Ganga River Conservation Authority, 132 spots have been identified, which are responsible for dumping raw sewage and municipal waste into the river.