The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Centre to file an “updated” report on the status of projects going under the Ganga cleaning programmes in five states through which the river passes.
A bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud asked Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, appearing for the Centre, to file details in an “up to date report” and fixed the matter for hearing on January 24.
Kumar told the bench that in pursuance to court’s earlier direction, the government had filed an affidavit in the matter in 2015. To this, the bench said, “We are now in 2017. You give us a new affidavit. We will have it on next Tuesday. We need an up to date report”. The apex court also asked the government to give details of the projects updated till December 31, 2016. In 2015, the apex court had observed that Ganga cleaning programmes have been going on for over three decades with almost no impact on the ground.
It had sought fresh response of the government about the steps undertaken by it to implement the stage-wise projects for cleaning river Ganga in the states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal. The government had earlier told the court that a consortium of seven IITs was expected to address the issue relating to almost 100 km-long eco-sensitive zone ranging from Gomukh to Uttarkashi.
Earlier, the apex court had expressed satisfaction over the Centre’s blueprint to clean river Ganga but had sought its response on how it planned to implement the ambitious policy. The Centre had submitted that it had identified 118 towns situated on bank of Ganga as the first target to achieve total sanitation including water waste treatment and solid waste management.
It had said the timelines for completion of the ongoing projects had also been prepared after consulting five Ganga basin states which are primarily responsible for implementing the projects for rejuvenation of the 2,500 km long river.