Allahabad, Dec 8: Religious groups have formed a 'Ganga Sena', to save the River Ganga from pollution.
The groups have decided that they would not allow any government official to take part in the forth coming fair to be held on the banks of the river.
“We have taken an oath to protect this river. Around 10,000 students have got themselves registered with us. We have placed orders for bamboo sticks, which shall be our weapons. We won"t rest in peace till we free the Ganga from pollution," said Shivendra Mishra, a member of the Ganga Sena.
"We are launching our war against pollution in the river. We will do what we can to save the Ganga," said Anand Giri Maharaj, a priest.
The decision to set up the 'Ganga Sena' comes in the wake of the Supreme Court castigating the Central Government and the governments of five states of the Ganga Basin polluting the Ganges.
Expressing its dissatisfaction over the anti pollution drive, the Supreme Court directed the Central Government not to release any more funds to the Government of West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand until they furnish details of the of funds spent so far.
The Central Government has earmarked around 247 million dollars for stopping pollution of the river. The principal sources of pollution in the Ganga are domestic and industrial wastes. Conservative estimates put the effluents flowing into Ganga to be in the range of 1.7 billion litres each day out of which 1.4 billion litres is untreated.
Nearly 88 per cent of the pollution originates in 27 cities located along the banks of River Ganga and its tributaries.
Industrial effluents account for a quarter of the entire rubbish being thrown and pumped into these rivers.
Domestic and industrial pollution, combined with deforestation, use of pesticides and fertilisers and other factors, have rendered the water of River Ganga unfit for drinking.
According to environmentalists, one of the major causes of polluting the river is the cremation of human bodies on the banks of the river, the practice of throwing dead bodies and immersion of flowers and other articles into the Ganga after religious rituals.
According to a recent official report, only 39 percent of the primary target of the Ganga Action Plan, which the Central Government had started to cleanse the river in 1985, could be met so far.