New Delhi, Aug 13 IANS | 3 months ago

Taking a potshot at the government on cleaning the Ganga, the Supreme Court Wednesday said no urgency was seen in protecting the river.

"You are showing no urgency to protect Ganga," an apex court bench headed by Justice T.S. Thakur said as Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, appearing for the central government, sought two weeks' adjournment on the issue.

The court told the solicitor general: "Are you saving the holy river. You are showing no urgency in this matter. But only in other matters."

Some of the issues that ought to be on the backburner are being put on the frontburner, the court said as it sought a status report on the government's action plan to clean the Ganga along with the roadmap on the action to be taken and the steps in that direction.

As court was told about the steps being taken to clean Ganga, the court told the solicitor general not to go that long and instead start from Gangotri up to Haridwar in the first phase and submit a report to the court.

"We will verify the progress you have made in cleaning Ganga from Gangotri to Haridwar in Phase I and then move to next stage," the court said.

The court is hearing the matter since 1985 and the first order was passed in 1988.

Appearing for the Central Pollution Control Board which is monitoring the implementation of Ganga Action Plan, counsel Vijay Panjwani told the court that what was required was low-cost toilets with septic tanks and drainage system in every village, town and city.

Panjwani told the court that cleaning Ganga will not happen unless untreated discharge was prevented from flowing into the river.

He asked what steps have been taken by the government to prevent the untreated discharge of waste effluent from flowing into the Ganga. He said all advisories by the Central Pollution Control Board are not being acted upon by both by the central and the state governments.

Panjwani told the court that focus in the past two decades has been on constructing sewage treatment plants which are electricity guzzlers and very costly.

(Posted on 13-08-2014)

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