SC castigates Centre and 5 states on Ganga pollution

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New Delhi, Dec 5 (UNI) The Supreme Court today castigated the Centre and five states of the Ganga basin saying that the quality of Ganga water had deteriorated further despite thousands of crores of rupees having been spent to improve it.

A bench comprising Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan and Justice RV Raveendran directed the states of West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar and Uttarakhand to file utility certificates giving details of the utilisation of Rs 1000 crore sanctioned by the Centre to these states for cleaning Ganga water.

The apex court did not mince words in making its doubts known that most of the money seemed to have been utilised in lining the pockets of politicians and bureaucrats concerned.

The Supreme Court also rejected the affidavit filed by National River Conservation Directorate which said that the quality of Ganga water had improved and contamination levels had gone down as a result of the implementation of Ganga cleansing process. Amicus curiae Krishan Mahajan and counsel for Central Pollution Control Board Mr Vijay Panjwani, however, told the court that most of sewage treatment plant were not functioning due to non-availability of power and suggested that oxidation ponds should be set up as they did not need electricity.

The apex court adjourned the hearing of the case by four weeks.

Earlier also the Supreme Court had pulled up the authorities for their casual approach in the matter. First phase of Ganga Action Plan was started in 1985 and now Phase II is on. During the last 22 years thousands of crores have been spent and the quality of Ganga water had deteriorated to the extent of making it unfit for human consumption.

UNI

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