According to Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti, River Ganga will be cleaned by July 2018. She said this in her reply to a question on the same subject in the lower parliamentary house – the Lok Sabha.
Responding to a series of supplementary questions during Question Hour in Lok Sabha, Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti said she would announce in the House in July 2018 that the river has been cleaned and rejuvenated. The return of aquatic life in the river, such as river dolphins, turtles and goldfish, will prove it has been rejuvenated, the minister said, adding that her ministry has succeeded in its cleansing efforts.
There was also a suggestion from one of the member that the drainage system of cities should be reworked to ensure that the waste goes to the fields and not rivers. He said it would provide farmers with fertiliser and save rivers from pollution.
Importantly, the Indian government has initiated the flagship “Namami Gange” program, since May last year. The programme with a budget outlay of Rs. 20,000 crore for the next 5 years, integrates the efforts to clean and protect the River Ganga in a comprehensive manner. This amount is a significant four-fold increase over the expenditure allocated to the task of cleaning the Ganga over the past 30 years.
A river is considered polluted when the Bio-Chemical Oxygen Demand (BoD) level rises above 2mg/l. A recent Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) report says that approximately 2,300 km of Namami Gange Rivers are polluted; this includes 550 km of Ganga, 667 km of Yamuna, 250 km of Gomti. Some 12,363 km of India’s 275 prominent rivers (including Namami Gange Rivers) are polluted.
The water resources minister, Ms. Bharti also dismissed claims that the Centre was not serious about rejuvenating the Ganga, saying her ministry was now achieving what could not be done in the past 29 years with Rs 4,000 crore spent.