It is not just the Ganga in Kanpur or the Mithi in Mumbai, a total of 150 rivers across India are being heavily and alarmingly polluted, threatening a large population. This may well spell doom at a time when inter-State conflicts over water resources are not uncommon.
According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), at least four rivers in Odisha are heavily polluted. They are: Kathjodi, Mahanadi, Brahmani and Kuakhai.
As the existing water bodies fall prey to pollution and become unusable, the data predicts a higher possibility of future conflicts over water in the country. The CPCB monitors the quality of various water bodies at 2,500
stations in 28 States and six Union Territories.
The monitoring network covers 445 rivers, 154 lakes, 12 tanks, 78 ponds, 41 creeks, 25 canals, 45 drains, 10 water treatment plants and 807 wells. For river conservation projects undertaken by State governments, the Centre grants 70 per cent of the money, while the rest needs to be shelled out from the State’s coffers.
In Odisha, the CPCB data reveals that four river stretches are polluted. The State received Rs 0.88 cr in 2009-10, no money in 2010-11 and Rs 6.69 cr in 2011-12 via grants from the Central Government for river conservation.
As many as 11 river stretches are polluted in Karnataka. The State has received the highest amount of funds for river conservation among five States in South India. Ironically, Karnataka also has the highest number
of polluted river stretches as compared to other South Indian States.
Maharashtra tops all the States in the number of polluted rivers, with 28 rivers being found to have heavily polluted stretches.
In Tamil Nadu, nine river stretches were found to be polluted. The State received Rs 3.10 cr grant in 2009-10, Rs 0.85 cr in 2010-11 and Rs 1.61 cr in 2011-12.
Nine river stretches were found to be polluted in Andhra Pradesh. They are in Godavari, Krishna, Manjira, Musi, Maner, Nakkavagu, Penner and Tungabhadra rivers. The State got Rs 38.18 cr in 2009-10, no money in
2010-11 and Rs 1.90 cr in 2011-12.
In Kerala, stretches of Karamena, Puzhackal and Kadambayar rivers were found to be polluted. The State received no money in 2009-10, Rs 0.54 cr in 2010-11 and Rs 0.23 cr in 2011-12 as grants from the Central Government.
In Puducherry, Arasalar river was found to be polluted during CPCB inspections.