New Delhi: Government's ambitious 'Clean Ganga' project got a jolt with the National Green Tribunal directing the Centre not to release funds for cleaning the river from Gomukh to Kanpur without its nod, chiding Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand for failing to identify the serious polluting locations.
Irked at the lackadaisical approach of officials of the two states for failing to enumerate the causes for pollution and the locations affected, a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar asked the Ministry of Water Resources and Ganga Rejuvenation, through National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA), not to release funds to the Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand governments without its approval.
It passed the direction after the officials of UP and Uttarakhand failed to satisfy the bench about the different points of pollution in the river in the two states.
Noting that industrial effluents and sewage discharged by industries were the primary cause of pollution in Ganga, the Tribunal had directed the Centre to take a clear stand on creating a mechanism to clean the river.
The green panel had divided the cleaning work of Ganga into different segments -- Gomukh to Haridwar, Haridwar to Kanpur, Kanpur to Uttar Pradesh border, UP border to Jharkhand border and from there to the Bay of Bengal.
During the proceedings today, advocate MC Mehta, who has sought cleaning of Ganga, said there was discharge of sewage, trade effluents and other pollutants due to rapid urbanization and industrialisation in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.
He alleged that there was no data regarding sewage generation in both the states, resulting in a "blame game" by each other.
Mr Mehta said the Environment Ministry, state pollution control boards and other authorities should look into the quantum of pollution caused by each state and deal with it accordingly.
The Water Resources Ministry had constituted NGRBA for rejuvenation of Ganga. While NGRBA is the apex body looking after cleaning of Ganga, National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) is the implementing agency for the project termed as "Namami Gange".