Ganga Water Should Carry Warning Sign Like Cigarette Packets, Says NGT

The National Green Tribunal on Friday expressed concerns over the deteriorating quality of water in river Ganga

The National Green Tribunal on Friday expressed concerns over the deteriorating quality of water in river Ganga, going so far as to say that if cigarette packets can carry injurious to health warning, why not river Ganga.

“People are drinking and bathing in the Ganga out of reverence and respect. They do not know that it may be dangerous to their health. If cigarette packets can contain a warning saying it is ‘injurious to health’, why not inform the people of the adverse effects (of the river water),” a bench, headed by NGT chairperson AK Goel, observed.

Observing that Ganga’s water between Haridwar and Unnao in UP, was unfit for human consumption, the panel wondered how innocent people are drinking and bathing in the river with reverence, without knowing that it may adversely affect their health, Indian Express reported.

“Do people of this country know that Ganga water is unfit for drinking and bathing? They perform achamana (purification ritual) thinking that they will go to heaven. Can you imagine which heaven will they go to if they drink this polluted water?” the NGT said.

The green body also directed National Mission for Clean Ganga to install display boards at a gap of 100 kilometres, indicating whether the water was fit for bathing or drinking.

A comptroller and auditor general (CAG) report, tabled in Parliament on July 20, has reviewed five ongoing national projects undertaken by the central government under river development and Ganga rejuvenation. The top auditing body found that the physical progress of these projects are far below target, with the shortfall ranging from 8% to 99% in some cases, The Times of India reported.

In the run-up for 2014 General elections, Prime Minister Modi campaigned from the city of Varanasi and made the poll promise of cleaning the Ganga river if his party comes to power.

Around Rs 2,500 crore of the ‘Namami Gange’ programme has been lying underutilized in the banks till 31 March,2017, a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) that was presented before Parliament on 19 December, revealed, The Quint reported.

“Out of Rs 6,705 crore earmarked during 2015-16 and 2016-17, the NMCG (National Mission for Clean Ganga) could spend only Rs 1,665.41 crore, less than a quarter of the expected year-wise release of funds,” the report said.