The Centre is planning to bring in a law to check release of industrial effluents into rivers, union minister Uma Bharti said.
“We will categorise river water use. The categories will define how much river water could be used for industrial and domestic purposes. Industries will have to develop a mechanism to re-use the used water which will not only save water but also help keep rivers clean,” Bharti said in Ranchi on Friday, adding that the ministry of water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation has started working on guidelines.
Jharkhand minister Saryu Rai, who briefed Bharti on the condition of rivers in the state, said, “Damodar is battling with industrial effluents. Coal- and power-based industries are polluting the river.”
Blaming wrong policies for pollution of river waters, Bharti said “Rivers never got importance in urban planning. A total of 764 industrial units, 118 municipal bodies and 1619 villages are polluting the Ganga river. A concrete plan is required to improve the situation.”
She said a project on the Damodar, one of the most polluted rivers in the state, would be undertaken along with the clean-Ganga drive. “Damodar is one of the tributaries of Ganga. The Centre has decided to rejuvenate Damodar river in Jharkhand on the lines of clean-Ganga project. Damodar will get funds for its rejuvenation. A study on the river is being carried out and work will begin soon,” Bharti said.
“If industries pollute the river (Damodar) water, they have to take responsibility for its cleanliness, not the river development department.”
The first phase of the National Mission for Clean Ganga will be completed by October 2016 and the task will be achieved in 10 years, she said. An 80-km stretch of the Ganga in Sahibganj district is also included in the project.
Bharti said Rs 4,000 crore was spent to clean Ganga in the last 29 years but nothing had been achieved. “The Central government has set aside Rs 20,000 crore to be spent in the next four years for the mission.”
She said the Centre would go ahead with river inter-linking projects. “We will do a proper study so that the projects do not disturb the ecology,” Bharti said.