"Don't give us a vision plan. An artist's view. It may take 200 years to implement," said a bench of Justice T.S. Thakur and Justice R. Banumathi. "We don't know if it (cleaning Ganga) will happen in our generation."
"Can you indicate the stages through which this plan has to move and the time involved in each stage?" asked Justice Thakur as Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar started reading from a 29-page affidavit starting with the 1985 first Ganga Action Plan.
The court wanted to be enlightened by "someone who has a comprehensive view of how Ganga would be made pollution free, nitty-gritty of the plan, and how the milestones can be achieved".
The 2,525-km long Ganga, which originates in the Himalayas, is considered the holiest of rivers by Hindus.
Telling Kumar that the government had given a "very bureaucratic answer" to its query, the court said it wanted to know how much will be achieved in the five years this government will be in office.
During the last hearing Aug 13, the court had sought the status report on the government's action plan to clean the Ganga along with a roadmap.
The court had also sought a report on what the government was doing to clean the river from Gangotri up to Haridwar in the first phase.
Justice Thakur observed: "But for nature, it (Ganga) would have been worst. It is nature that is doing a lot of cleaning."
The court told the solicitor general if polluting industries needed to be relocated, the court could assist the government with legal process.