Directions have been issued to about 48 industrial units polluting River Ganga to close down, the Rajya Sabha was informed today. The Ministry of Environment & Forests has identified 764 grossly polluting industries discharging 501 million litres per day of waste water into Ganga and its major tributaries, Minister of State for Water Resources and Ganga Rejuvenation Santosh Kumar Gangwar said in his written reply "704 industries have been inspected under National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) programme by NGRBA Cell, CPCB till May, 2014. Directions have been issued to 165 industries, of which 48 are closure directions under Section-5 of E(P) Act, 1986," he said.
The State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) are required to implement effluent discharge standards by the industries. Gangwar said action has to be taken against defaulting industries by SPCBs under powers delegated to them by the Central Government under relevant provisions of Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 and Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. To another question on jurisdiction of NGRBA, he said, the Ministry of Environment and Forests has informed that on the recommendations of NGRBA, three power projects - Loharinag Pala, Pala Maneri and Bhaironghati hydro power projects were halted in 2010.
"Further, stage 1B project was also halted in 2010, after National Environment Appellate Authority quashed environmental clearance for the project. In the last three years, no hydro power project has been halted by the Government," Gangwar said. Replying to a related question, the Minister said,"A comprehensive River Basin Management Plan for Ganga is being prepared by a consortium of seven IITs (Kanpur, Delhi, Madras, Bombay, Kharagpur, Guwahati and Roorkee). "The objective of the plan is to suggest comprehensive measures for restoration of wholesomeness of Ganga system and improvement of its ecological health, with due regard to the issue of competing water uses in the river basin." "The plan would take into consideration requirements of water and energy in the Ganga Basin, while ensuring that fundamental aspects of the river system are protected. The IIT consortium is proposing to submit its report by the end of August," he said.