New Delhi, Jan 14 (IANS) The Supreme Court Wednesday asked if the Modi government intended to complete the task of cleaning the Ganga in its present term or carry it to the next term and keep the issue alive.
The apex court also sought details on the status of various sewage treatment plants (STP) that were being set up to prevent the untreated effluent from flowing into the Ganga river.
“You want to do it (cleaning Ganga) in this term of the government or the next or keep the issue alive,” the apex court bench of Justice T.S. Thakur, Justice R.K. Agrawal and Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel asked Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar as it sought the verifiable road-map of the government’s plan to clean the Ganga.
“What is that you are going to do that we can monitor,” court asked Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, telling him: “We want verifiable progress, be it (over a stretch) of 100 km.”
Seeking the government response in “layman’s term” and not the “bureaucratic jargons”, the court asked: “In regards to Uttrakhand what are the directions you have issued? What are the reports and what are the impediments?”
Seeking the status of various sewage treatment plants (STPs) which are under construction or in tendering stage, the court said, “You have already spent Rs.2,000 crore and money is not a constraint for you.”
As the solicitor general told the court that 16 STPs being set up in Uttrakhand would take three years to complete, the court sought the status report on 31 STPs on which work is in progress and on 15 STPs which are in the bidding process stage.
The court also sought the copy of the report of the study being carried by a consortium of IITs on the basin management plan for cleaning the Ganga. The consortium of IITs is likely to submit its report by the month-end, Ranjit Kumar told the court.
As petitioner M.C. Mehta drew the attention of the court to the management of eco-sensitive zone of the Ganga from Gomukh to Uttarkashi, the solicitor general told the court that IIT consortium is studying this aspect as well.
Pointing to the government’s affidavit of Aug 31, 2014, which said that some of the STPs were in the bidding stage, the court sought a status report on that also, and hoped that the bidding process in respect of them must have reached the allotment stage.
Seeking the status report in respect of 31 sewage treatment plants which were in ongoing stage and 15 in the bidding stage, the court said if bids have not been allotted so far, then what were the reasons for the delay.
The court gave the government six weeks’ time to furnish the details sought by it.