UP, Uttarakhand pollution boards draw NGT's flak on Ganga

Pollution control boards of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand today drew flak from National Green Tribunal for failing to take and suggest measures for cleaning of river Ganga.

"Your job is to control pollution but you have taken no action. Being the pollution control board, you suggest what action should be taken against the state government. You are not subordinate to the state government and you should tell the state government what to do on the issue," a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Swatanter Kumar told the Uttarakhand Pollution Control Board (UPCB).

The bench also summoned Member Secretary of UPCB, CEOs of Uttarakhand Pey Jal Nigam and Uttarakhand Jal Sansthan for tomorrow to explain the steps taken to check pollution in Ganga.

The green panel's direction came after the counsel for UPCB failed to give details about the sewage treatment plants installed at Haridwar and their operational capacity.

The bench also pulled up Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) after its counsel could not give satisfactory reply to the panel on the query whether it has applied its mind on how to clean Ganga.

"No one knows how many industries operate at Jajmau in Kanpur. Rs 1000 crore has been spent with no exact number of industries in the area. In 1985, the first order of the Supreme Court came on tanneries but there is still no exact number of industries operating there," it said.

The bench posted the matter on cleaning of Ganga for further hearing tomorrow.

The tribunal had on October 9 taken the Centre to task and asked it to tell one place where Ganga was clean and that despite spending huge sums of money, the situation had gone from bad to worse.

The green panel, which was asked to act against polluting industrial units on the banks of Ganga by the Supreme Court, had expressed displeasure over the lackadaisical approach of the authorities towards ensuring cleanliness and uninterrupted flow of the river.

The Centre had said that almost Rs 4,000 crore has been spent on the rejuvenation of the river since 1985 till last year.

It had said that Ganga Action Plan (GAP) Phase-I was launched as a centrally funded scheme in 1985 and GAP Phase-II was initiated in 1993 to improve the river's water quality. In 2009, 'National Ganga River Basin Authority' (NGRBA) was set up for pollution control in Ganga.