Paldev (Madhya Pradesh), Feb 7 (IANS) The government is considering a policy whereby the contractors assigned to clean the Ganga river will maintain it as well, union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said on Sunday.
“We are considering a policy whereby the contractors hired for cleaning the river will also maintain it for 10 years,” Javadekar told IANS here.
The policy would be in line with the Golden Quadrilateral – a 5,846-km network of highways connecting important industrial, agricultural and cultural centres across the country – where the contractors who built it now maintain it as well.
Javadekar, the minister of state for environment, forest and climate change, was also upbeat about the progress of the ‘clean Ganga’ campaign.
The level of pollution in the river is now one third of what it was one year ago, he said.
“European countries also take time to clean their rivers. The Ganga will be cleaned in the next 10 years. It will be like the Thames in 20 years,” Javadekar said during a visit to Paldev gram panchayat – a cluster of six villages – which he adopted in November 2014.
Javadekar said the discharge of industrial pollutants into the river had been significantly reduced.
He said the installation of Online Continuous Effluent Monitoring Systems has been a success.
The minister said out of the 764 polluting industries, 514 units have already installed the monitoring system and they are now able to keep a tab on the units’ daily activities via an SMS.
Some 150 units that did not respond to the plans have been shut down, he said.
The Central Pollution Control Board had formulated an action plan for reduction of industrial pollution in the Ganga. The key culprits are five industrial sectors – sugar, paper and pulp, distilleries, textiles and tannery.
The CPCB is directly monitoring the progress of the implementation of the action plan. It also carried out inspections of 130 industries since December last year.
The minister was here on Sunday to oversee the construction of a primary school and a water pond-reservoir.
He held informal meetings with teachers and farmers and discussed ways to increase the pass percentage in high school and crop yield respectively.
The day-long visit saw the minister interacting with the locals, including women self- help groups.