Patna: There is an urgent need to save the Ganges, Water Resources Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said here on Saturday after undertaking an aerial survey of the river with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
Bansal arrived here on Friday on a two-day visit to the state to discuss with Nitish Kumar flood and drought management.
The two surveyed the river from Chausa in Buxar district to Piparpanti in Bhagalpur district, an official said.
Bansal said he would also survey the Kosi and Farraka barrage to assess the impact of siltation and flood management schemes.
Nitish Kumar had invited Bansal at a meeting on the Ganges in Delhi on April 17.
"There is an urgent need to initiate measures to save the Ganges," Bansal later told reporters here.
Although considered holy by Hindus, the Ganges is highly polluted in Bihar. About 30 large drains in Patna alone discharge about 190 million litres of untreated sewage and garbage into the river every day.
Tested samples of the water have revealed a high presence of coliform bacteria.
One study says the river in Bihar is unfit for even farm production. Even the river banks are filthy, with garbage dumped at many places.
According to the environmental science department of AN College here, during its 2,510-km journey from Gaumukh to the Bay of Bengal, nearly one billion litres of untreated sewage gets disposed into the river.