U’khnd welcomes SC stay, says Namami Ganga project will benefit
Drinking water minister Prakash Pant said the development will accelerate the pace of the Namami Gange project, which aims to clean the Ganga by October next year.dehradun Updated: Jul 16, 2017 21:00 IST
DEHRADUN: The Uttarakhand government welcomed the Supreme Court’s stay on the high court order declaring the Ganga and the Yamuna as living entities.
Drinking water minister Prakash Pant said the development will accelerate the pace of the Namami Gange project, which aims to clean the Ganga by October next year.
“We requested the Supreme Court to give directions following the Uttarakhand high court order. The order was tricky in a way that officials were technically responsible for the river beyond Uttarakhand and which was not practical,” Pant told Hindustan Times on Friday, welcoming the stay order.
He added that the government will examine the apex court’s directives, if any. “Works under the Namami Gange project programme are yet to be completed. I think the stay will help accelerating the pace of the pending works.”
On March 20, the high court declared the Ganga and the Yamuna as ‘juristic person’ bestowing on the two rivers the same legal rights enjoyed by humans. The order came five-days after Whanganui River in New Zealand was granted a similar status.
The high court had allowed the director of the Namami Gange project, the Uttarakhand chief secretary and the advocate general the right to represent the Ganga. Uttarakhand had objected the chief secretary being made responsible for matters beyond the state, while the Centre was reportedly not convinced of involving the Namami Gange project director in the matter.
The high court had sought a reply from the Ganga, the state government and three other parties in a PIL challenging a decision to make garbage dump in Rishikesh.
Mohan Rawat Gaonwasi, a senior BJP leader and an expert member of the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA), said there was a need for a task force to ensure time bound cleansing of the Ganga.“There is a disconnect between officials and the people living on the banks of the river. The locals have to be involved and this has to be monitored by a task force,” he asserted.
Millions of Hindus revere the Ganga that travels a 2,525-km route from Gangotri in Uttarakhand till Ganga Sagar in West Bengal before finally merging into the Bay of Bengal.