Water Initiatives Odisha, the leading water watchdog of the State has contested the claim of Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests (MoEF) Jayanti Natarajan that the National River Conservation Plan (NRCP) presently covers 42 rivers in 195 towns spread over 20 States and these rivers are being cleaned.
In a press release, WIO has stated that the rivers include Mahanadi and Brahmani in Odisha. It rejected the Minister’s statement that despite significant increase in urbanisation, industrialisation and population growth in towns along the banks of rivers, the water quality in terms of bio-chemical oxygen demand values in major rivers has improved compared to the water quality before taking up pollution abatement works under NRCP.
The WIO has urged the MoEF as well as the Government of Odisha to make public what exactly has been studied at which points of the rivers at what times.
Objecting to the ways of pollution monitoring of rivers by Odisha State Pollution Control Board, WIO has called for an independent monitoring body.
It has also urged the Minister to make public the locations where levels of bacterial contamination in terms of fecal coliforms are reported to be exceeding the maximum permissible limit. The pollution data are deliberately disclosed in scientific terms so that common man cannot understand the impact. The Minister, in her reply to Lok Sabha, disclosed that during the last three years, Rs 1113.01 crore has been released by the Ministry and Rs 1756.80 crore has been spent by the State Governments under the NRCP.