Ganga pollution: Govt warn of stringent action against industries

The government Wednesday warned of stringent action against industries that are violating pollution norms on the banks of the river Ganga and its tributaries.

New Delhi: The government Wednesday warned of stringent action against industries that are violating pollution norms on the banks of the river Ganga and its tributaries.

Addressing a national dialogue here on industrial pollution in the Ganga, Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharati said that priority would be given for saving the holy river.

"If I am asked (by a doctor) whether a mother or her baby should be saved during delivery, I would say both. But when a situation is arising where only one among them could be saved, then I would say the mother should be saved," she said in an apparent reference to the Ganga as the mother.

The minister's statement came after representatives of the industrial units on the banks of the river and its tributaries said that it would be difficult for them to comply with the Central Pollution Control Board's (CPCB) instruction that implementation of Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) is a must in the sectors.

Representatives from the paper and pulp industries said that "it (implementation of ZLD) is not practical" and argued that there is no Zero Liquid Discharge compliance even in the Europe and the United States.

Meanwhile, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, while interacting with reporters at the BJP headquarter here, said the government is committed to cleaning the Ganga.

He said that there are 764 polluting industries along the river which have been given notice to install sensors at affluent discharge points by March 31, next year.

"Sitting in the head office, we can track the units and act against them," he said, adding the government will deal with polluting industries sternly.

However, industry representatives also took potshots at the government online monitoring mechanism, saying it should not be implemented hastily as technologies used in it are inaccurate.

Addressing the national dialogue, R K Pachauri, Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), stressed on the need for getting real time information about the volume of pollution at different points along the Ganga.

"Today you can get data on real time basis....This should be an important technical component while managing the cleaning of river Ganga," he said.

The involvement of municipalities in the rejuvenation mission was also key, he added.

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