Concerned over pollution in Ganga and Yamuna, members of Rajya Sabha today unanimously urged the Government to reduce pollution in the rivers across the country.
Initiating a discussion on increasing pollution in various rivers in the country, Ravishankar Prasad (BJP) said the Yamuna has been turned into a "sewer and gutter" due to pollution.
He sought to know from Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan as to "where has the Rs 5,500 crore gone which was spent on cleaning the river under the Yamuna Action Plan. Of this, Rs 2,800 crore have been spent in Delhi only but the river has become more polluted."
He said the Yamuna flows along a stretch of only 22 km in Delhi, which is two per cent of its total flow length, before it merges with the Ganga in Prayag but Delhi contributes 70 per cent of its total pollution.
Prasad said at the major pilgrim centres of Vrindavan and Mathura, the Yamuna has turned fully black and asked what steps were planned by the Government to purify water there.
He said a proposal to send the Ganga water through a tunnel for a hydropower project "was unacceptable" to the BJP and it would not allow stopping the flow of the holy river.
The BJP leader asked if the Government could launch a national mission to make the rivers pollution-free like the successful polio eradication drive.
Ramprakash (Cong) said if the country wants to fight the menace of pollution in rivers, each and every individual along with the Centre and state governments will have to make contribution towards this.
On the plight of Ganga, he said the tanneries of Kanpur were destroying the river and it was being polluted by 20 crore litres of sewage in Varanasi every day.
"Only shedding tears on pollution in these rivers will not help. The flow of industrial waste and sewage should be stopped and such acts should be criminalised. Municipalities which send water into rivers without treating them should also be penalised," the Congress MP said.