The Centre today assured the Supreme Court that the release of domestic sewer water by civic bodies into the Ganga would be stopped within four years under the national mission for cleaning the river.

“Municipalities of 118 towns on the banks the river in five states – Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal — have been asked to wake up and ensure zero discharge,” Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar informed a Bench headed by Justice TS Thakur.

The SG made the assurance while responding to a query from the Bench as to whether the government would show some measurable achievements before the end of its five-year term.

The government would complete the construction of sewer treatment plants (STPs) one year ahead of completing its term, the SG said.

The SG said the consortium of Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) was expected to come out with its report within a month, suggesting measures to restore the pristine beauty of the river. The report would also deal with the steps required to preserve the 100-km ecologically-sensitive stretch from Gomukh to Uttar Kasi. The Bench was hearing a 30-year-old PIL pleading for stopping the release of industrial effluents and household wastes into the river. It was unfortunate that the Ganga had remained the same despite the fact that the case was being heard and several orders had been passed, it said.

The apex court clarified that it would restrict itself to dealing with pollution arising from domestic wastes as the National Green Tribunal (NGT) was seized of issues arising from polluting industrial units along the 2,500-km stretch of the river. The case would be taken up again on February 16.

Source: The Tribune