New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the National Green Tribunal to take action against industrial units polluting Ganga including snapping water and power connections to them while slamming Centre and State Pollution Control Boards for their "failure" to punish erring units.
Expressing deep concern over the present pollution level of the river, which it held to be the "lifeline" of the country, a bench headed by Justice T S Thakur gave a free hand to the Tribunal to take action against such units including forcing them to shut down.
It said the Tribunal needs to be entrusted with the task as the Pollution Control Boards have failed in their duty to take action against polluting industries.
The bench, also comprising justices Adarsh K Goel and R Banumathi, rapped the boards for not standing up against the polluting units having strong monetary and political influence.
"This is an institutional failure and your story is a complete story of failure, frustration and disaster. You need to stand up against the polluting units. It will take another 50 years if the task is left to you," the bench said.
The apex court, however, said that it will keep on monitoring the issue relating to discharge of domestic effluents into the river which is being dealt by municipal bodies of the concerned states.
"We regret to say that intervention of the court and its sustained efforts notwithstanding has led to no fruitful result," the apex court, which has been monitoring the Ganga clean project for the last three decades, said.
"It is our duty to ensure purification of the river. There is no gainsaying that river has significance not only in religious and spiritual psyche of the people but it is also a lifeline of people," the bench said.
The bench asked the tribunal to file its report after every six months on the actions taken by it in controlling industrial pollution and posted the case for further hearing on December 10 when it will pass further order to curb domestic effluents.