Viral photo shows garbage being dumped into Ganga tributary
The efforts to clean and rejuvenate Ganga under Centre’s flagship Namami Gange mission seem stand defeated in Uttarakhand where pictures of garbage being dumped into one of the river’s tributaries have surfaced online.
In a recent post uploaded on social media in which the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has also been tagged, garbage collectors working for the Rudraprayag municipal board can be seen dumping the trash straight into River Alaknanda, one of the two headstreams of the Ganga. “A tight slap on the Centre’s Namami Gange program..is this how you keep the Ganga clean?,” the post questioned.
Sources said that the Rudraprayag local body does not have any trenching ground and it dumps the garbage down a slope along the Alaknanda at a spot around 5 km from the main town. Similar cases have been reported from other hill towns as well in the past.
When contacted, Namami Gange programme director (Uttarakhand) Raghav Langer said that he would take up the matter with the district magistrate and also with the state pollution control board.
“Solid waste management has to be dealt with urban local body concerned. Nevertheless, since it is a serious issue, we will refer the case to the DM and also the state pollution control board concerned to take cognizance of the garbage being dumped in the river,” Langer told HT.
In March this year, around ₹885 crore for total 21 schemes were sanctioned by the Centre for the swift implementation of the Namami Gange Programme in Uttarakhand for creating new/upgrading existing sewage treatment plants, laying of sewage networks, interception and diversion of drains waste water management Ironically, of these, four projects – including one at Rudraprayag – were approved for pollution abatement works for Alaknanda to ensure cleaner flow of the river downstream.
In Uttarakhand, the Namami Gange programme caters to 15 priority towns in seven districts located along the banks of the Ganga or its tributaries, which include Uttarkashi, Badrinath, Joshimath, Gopeshwar, Nandprayag, Karnaprayag, Gauchar, Rudraprayag, Srinagar, Kirtinagar, Devprayag, Tapovan, Muni Ki Reti, Rishikesh and Haridwar.
Meanwhile, the State Project Management Group (SPMG) for Namami Gange is working to empanel a set of NGOs or social organizations to spread awareness and encourage community participation in conserving the River Ganga.
“Since we have limited manpower and availability of staff, so we are contemplating empanelment of various NGOs as support organizations to SPMG to carry out effective IEC (information, education and communication or awareness) activities,” Langer told HT.
“The selected organizations will assist the SPMG in carrying out awareness activities,” he said, adding that the organizations will be empanelled for a period up till March 2018.
Namami Gange is a Flagship Programme of the Narendra Modi government. It has been granted a budget of ₹20,000 crore to accomplish the twin objectives of effective abatement of pollution, conservation and rejuvenation of the Ganga.