Ganga pollution: Regulator gets more teeth

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

NEW DELHI - The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) can now directly issue showcause or closure notices to industries polluting the river Ganga in Uttar Pradesh, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said Tuesday.

“We all are concerned about the increasing pollution in Ganga and cannot only rely on the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB),” Ramesh told reporters here.

“So, we have decided to invoke the Environment Protection Act which will give CPCB the power to issue direct closure or showcause notices to those who exceed the pollution levels,” he added.

“The CPCB will conduct a survey of all the industrial units on a 500 km stretch from Kannauj to Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh and will issue notices to industries polluting on the banks of Ganga,” he said.

Earlier, CPCB used to issue directives to SPCB to check industries polluting the Ganga.

Ramesh said the environment ministry is also finalising a Rs.1,300 crore World Bank project for strengthening and reforming CPCB and the SPCB.

Human and industrial waste have left the sacred river highly polluted and efforts to clean the Ganges have not really borne fruit. Nearly Rs.900 crore ($20 million) have been spent in the last two decades on the Ganga Action Plan.

A parliamentary panel recently observed that the action plan has shown no considerable results in improving the quality of the river.

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