BALLIA: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Monday said if his Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal had a strong resolve, the Yamuna would be as clean as the Ganga.
"The Ganga, which earlier was no better than a polluted 'naala' is now clean and healthy at and beyond Kanpur. One requires strong resolve to find a solution to such problems. Only if Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had a strong resolve, the Yamuna in Delhi would be as clean as the Ganga," Adityanath said while flagging off the UP government's five-day 'Ganga Yatra' from Bijnor.
There are two routes of the 'Yatra'. The first from Bijnor to Kanpur and the second, Ballia to Kanpur.
Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel inaugurated the 'Yatra' from Ballia. He said the state government has "acted" on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision to clean the Ganga.
Adityanath further said, "It is the responsibility of each one of us to ensure that the Ganga remains clean. We must stop throwing garbage in the river. We must also ensure that no other pollutant is released into the river".
The chief minister said the purpose behind the 'Ganga Yatra' was to accelerate economies of the villages along its banks.
"The river not only has spiritual value for us but it can also accelerate economic development of the villages that lay on the banks of the Ganga," Adityanath said. "We will encourage establishing Ganga nurseries, parks and ponds and encourage organic farming to accelerate village economy," he said.
The chief minister said the Ganga basin is extremely fertile and can grow crops that can feed a large population.
"This fertile basin is home to 40 per cent of the country's population and can feed a huge population," Adityanath said.
The state government is organising the two 'Yatras' to increase awareness about Ganga rejuvenation and also to accelerate economic development.
The two Yatras will cover 1,358 km, touching 27 districts and 21 municipal bodies over a period of five days, before converging on Kanpur on Friday.
Meanwhile, UP Congress chief Ajay Kumar Lallu hit out at the state government, alleging corruption in the river cleaning programme.
He said the state government had no moral right to take out the yatra and accused it of "playing with religious sentiments".
"The (state) government does not have any moral right to take out the Ganga Yatra. Those taking out the yatra should tell what has happened to the Namami Gange Prayojana," Lallu said in a statement issued by the UP Congress here.
Lallu also said as per a report of the National Green Tribunal, the Ganga is more polluted as compared to earlier times.
"The Ganga Yatra is a playing with religious sentiments of the public. Apart from this, corruption amounting to thousands of crores was committed in the name of cleaning the Ganga," he said.
The UP Congress chief in the statement said the Yogi government has been able to spend only 20 per cent of the funds allocated by the Centre under the Namami Gange project.
"BJP MLA from Bithoor Abhijeet Singh Sanga has highlighted widespread corruption in the Namami Gange.
This raises a serious question mark on the government.
In this scenario, does the Ganga Yatra taken out by the BJP not amount to deceiving the people of the state? Does it not amount to deceiving Ganga jee," he asked.