Ganga is a lifeline for India, it is a river which has allowed Indian civilization to grow and flourish since the ancient times. The river is providing livelihood to million of Indian people today also but now the condition of River is degrading. The high rate of increase of India’s population is an alarming factor. The Gangetic Plains is one of the most fertile place in India as well as one of the most densely populated place in India. The Ganges River is one of the most Important River in India and it is also one of the largest river river that flows in India. The importance of Ganges can be known from the fact that the biggest river of Southern India is also known as Southern Ganges. Ganga is not only a river for India, it is a cradle for civilization, a source of livelihood for millions of people and it is treated as Goddess in India. The name Ganges can be found in many ancient texts of Hinduism. There are many mythological stories are associated with Ganges in which it is described how Ganges came to earth and who brought the river to earth. Many great and powerful kingdoms of ancient India were situated on the banks of Ganges river and today also some of the biggest industrial cities of India is situated either on the banks of Ganges river or its tributary. But now the alarming rate of increase of population of India has impacted Ganges too and the Holy river of India is now struggling to survive. The level of pollution in Ganges River is at an alarming rate since 1980 and since then successive government has tried to control the level of pollution in the sacred river of India but they all failed. Here I would be giving a brief insight of why it seems that Indian government is really not serious about reducing the level of pollution in Ganges River.
Few days back I read a news that after Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister of India he allocated whooping INR 3700 Crore under Namami Ganges Project (National Mission for Clean Ganga) in year 2014. After successive RTI and information obtained from Ministry of Water resource in India it was revealed that about 20% of the Rs 3,700-crore funds allocated in the first two years of the programme was not utilized. I came to this conclusion because its not that only the Narendra Modi led government has failed to achieve its target almost all the government has failed to get the things under control. In last 10 years the successive governments of India have defined a budget of nearly 20,000 corer INR but they failed to utilize the allocated budget. Even the authorities taking care of emission of pollutants in the river are not sincere about their task. The Central Pollution Control Board of India mentioned that nearly 30 drains empty harmful chemical in river in the state of Uttar Pradesh, the state pollution control board lists the number of Drains to 150. Similarly according to documents submitted to the court by the Center, the number of grossly polluting industries (GPIs) affecting the Ganga was 764 in 1985. In 2017, government officials were still listing the number of GPIs as 764. it means there was no increase in number of Industries along the bank of Ganges in last 32 years which is nearly impossible. The 40% pollution of India living along the banks of Ganges river is also not sincere about as they directly dump their waster water into the river. Individual houses as well as organizations like hotels and tour and travels operators. Two major factors that contribute heavily to the pollution of Ganges River are 1: Population living along the banks of the river, 2: Industrial Waster dumped into the river and 3: The religious activities performed on the river. The government can control the Industries and sewage falling in the river but it can’t control the religious activities going on on the river as it would be a direct attack on the religious belief of 1 Million people of India following the Hinduism religion.
Going back in the past the first big initiate to clean Ganges River was carried out in the year 1985 when Congress Government led by Rajeev Gandhi initiated the Ganga Action Plan called GAP. The first GAP was a failure when it failed to achieve its target. The Government of India again started Ganga Action Plan 2 called GAP phase 2. Its aim was same to clean the Ganges by the year 2000. The GAP 2 was again failure when after spending cores of rupees the condition of Ganges worsened only. Now when Narendra Modi came to power in 2014 he again pitched the same thing i.e to clean the Ganges river by 2019 but again after three years the condition is same. Going by the current rate the Ganges River and its water would be no more available to the people of India by 2034. Not only the river is facing attacks on its survival but the source of river i.e the Gangotri Glacier is also facing extreme attack from the travelers and trekkers. Earlier huge number of travelers and trekkers used to trek to the Gangorti Glacier and it threatened the sensitive biodiversity of the region. In the year 2009 the government of Uttrakhand passed an order restricting the number of trekkers to 150 per month. This decision has multiple benefit as it will not only preserve the source of Ganges river it will also help the engendered spices to live freely. Anyways if the Government of India as well as the people of India needs to survive the upcoming water crises they need to understand the importance of Ganges river. There is a common saying in India “If Ganges thrives, India thrives and if Ganges dies, India dies”. This is not just a saying it is a reality of India and people of India must acknowledge this reality.