NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday came down heavily on the Centre for its inability to come up with a concrete plan and step up efforts to clean up the Ganga. A Bench, headed by Justice T S Thakur, expressed anguish over the lackadaisical approach of the BJP- NDA Government in initiating the Clean Ganga project.
“You are unable to tell us your stage-wise vision on cleaning the holy river Ganga and your ultimate aim,” the Bench said, asking why the post of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) chairperson had been lying vacant for the past six months.
The Bench suggested that the project needs an expert with a vision like metroman E Sreedharan and said, “This case has been pending here in court for the last 29 years. Nothing concrete has been done. We don’t want to wait for another 29 years. We understand it can’t be done overnight, but you should have an expert who has a vision like Sreedharan.”
On this Solicitor General (SG) Ranjit Kumar informed the Bench that the present government is bound to clean the river and said, “As many as 118 towns and 1649 Gram Panchayats have been identified to focus the work on.”
The SG said that the Clean Ganga project is connected with ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’, another ambitious plan of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He said in the next two years it will become clear how many Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) and sewerage are in place at different cities and towns through which the Ganga flows.
He said a consultative meeting to discuss the issues of industrial pollution in the Ganga was organised by the government on September 19, which focused on installation of real-time effluent quality monitoring system by the grossly polluting industries located in the Ganga river basin, within March 31, 2015. Kumar requested the court to give time till December so that the Centre could come out with a compact plan and blamed the CPCB for not helping out the government.
“What have you (CPCB) done for 764 grossly polluted units. You are a specialised agency. It is your job,” the Bench observed after CPCB’s counsel Vijay Panjwani explained the functioning of the Board.
Meanwhile, the SC told AIIMS Director to set up a board to review the medical reports and, if required, clinically examine self-styled godman Asaram Bapu to ascertain whether interim bail should be granted in the Jodhpur rape case.