Centre seeks the help of Ganga-basin states – Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal
The Centre told the Supreme Court that the government needs the cooperation of Ganga-basin states – Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal – for the successful execution of its project to clean the Ganga.
Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar told the bench of Justice T.S. Thakur and Justice R. Banumathi that besides cooperation of the states, there has to be awareness among the people to keep the rivers clear and free from pollutants.
Emphasising on the importance of cooperation and coordination from the states, the solicitor general said the Centre was funding the clean Ganga project but the implementing agencies were with the states.
He said the central government in Delhi cannot monitor the 2,500-km stretch of the Ganga unless it gets cooperation of the basin states.
And most of these states are ruled by parties other than the one ruling at the Centre, the court observed, as the solicitor general repeatedly spoke about cooperation and coordination from the states.
While telling the solicitor general that the court will try to intervene in making the reluctant agencies discharge their obligations, the bench asked if the government could indicate the targets that it intends to achieve in one year.
“If there is any difficulty or any state or municipal body is not cooperating, then we can step in,” the court said.
“You tell us the target you intend to achieve over a period of one year, we will not bother you during that time, but then embark on ascertaining to what extent the targets were achieved,” the court told the solicitor general.
“All that we want to know is if we can verify whatever you are doing. We will like to know if you are really doing it… if people are working,” observed Justice Thakur.
“We can adjourn it (the hearing) for one year. We will not bother you,” he said.
Assuring the court of providing it with the roadmap of the clean Ganga plan, the solicitor general said 70 percent pollution of the Ganga was due to flow of sewerage and 25 percent from industrial waste.
He said that though industrial waste was less in percentage, it carries a lot of toxicants.
At the outset of the hearing, the court expressed happiness that the government has reduced 100 years to 18 years for cleaning the Ganga.
During the last hearing, the court had said that the pace at which the clean Ganga project was progressing, it would take 100 years or more to complete it.
The hearing remained inconclusive.