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Cleaning of the Ganga is the solemn duty of the government and citizens, the National Green Tribunal today said while observing that lack of coordination and implementation of various schemes "degenerated" the river. "To clean river Ganga is a solemn duty of both the state/Centre and duty of the citizens as well. This comprehensive obligation under the Constitution is aimed at protecting the environment which in this context obviously would mean cleaning and rejuvenation of river Ganga," NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said. In its over 500-page verdict on the issue of cleaning the river, the tribunal said the lack of coordination and implementation of schemes under Ganga Action Plan (GAP) I and II coupled with non-compliance of Supreme Court orders are the chief causes of pollution of the river. "It is observed that there has not been any significant change in the water quality of river Ganga.
On the contrary, there has been increase in pollution load on river Ganga, both in terms of quantum and in terms of quality. "Lack of coordination and implementation of the schemes under these two projects and non-compliance of the directive and orders issued by the Supreme Court, has led to the present degenerated status of river Ganga and its tributaries," the green panel said. It also observed that even after the government spending huge amount of money and providing for installation of several sewage treatment plants and effluent treatment plants, the river is still polluted. It noted that though the government spent Rs 949 crore in GAP-I launched in 1986 and Rs 279 crore in GAP-II, 1993, yet "there has not been any significant change in the water quality of river Ganga". The Ganga Action Plan-I was introduced in 1986 in 25 selected towns located alongside the river in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal. GAP-II was launched in 1993, while continuing with the programme it included work of tributaries of river Ganga like, Yamuna, Damodar and Mahanadi. The NGT noted that the Supreme Court had in 2006 referred to a CAG report in relation to GAP and recorded that there was "further deterioration" of water quality of Ganga in all its parameters. "It is regretfully noted that even after spending huge amount of money and providing for installation of several STPs and ETPs, the river is still polluted. Undeniably, there are certain factors including that of strategy, planning, designing and implementation phases of the GAP I and GAP II, which lead to the present scenario," it said.
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