PM Modi has betrayed people of Varanasi, pollution levels in Ganga higher compared to 2014: Congress

Accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of betraying people of Varanasi by failing to clean the Ganga as promised, the Congress on Friday said the pollution levels in the river were higher than in 2014.

Talking to media here, AICC spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said, ‘Cleaning the Ganga was one of the major poll promises of the BJP ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. A fresh RTI has revealed that the pollution levels in the river Ganga are higher than in 2014 when the Modi Government launched its most ambitious ‘NamamiGange’ initiative. Particularly in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency, Varanasi- lab tests have found that bacterial contamination is now higher than the levels recorded back in 2014. Going by the government’s own status report, it looks very unlikely that it will be able to fulfil its promise.’’

‘The slurries, the gurgle dark black sewage into the Ganga, littered with plastic, carcasses and trash, the indescribable stink kicks up from this toxic cocktail that also hides germs passed through human and animal excrements in Varanasi sings the sordid saga of utter neglect by the Modi Government. People of Varanasi and people of the Gangetic plains Maa Ganga shall never forgive and forget how PM, Narendra Modi has betrayed them. Only few months are left and people of India shall give a befitting reply to the BJP,’’Mr Singhvi said.

Citing figures to substantiate his claim that the ‘Namami Gange’ programme of the NDA government had faltered, Mr Singhvi said, ‘Till date, under Namami Gange programme, a total of 221 projects have been sanctioned for various activities such as the treatment of municipal sewage, treatment of industrial effluent, river surface cleaning, etc. at a total cost of Rs 22,238.73 crore, out of which 58 projects have been completed. This means an additional Rs 2,238.73 crore has been sanctioned towards the allocated fund and more than one and half year is still to go. Only one fourth of the sanctioned projects are complete.

A majority of sanctioned and completed projects under Namami Gange are sewage treatment plants (STPs). Till date, NamamiGange had created only 329.3 million litres per day of the 2,278.08 mild sewage treatment capacities it aimed for. Total of only 26 projects has been completed so far. Here too, only one fourth of the sanctioned projects have been completed.’’

‘’In May 2018, Union Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari had set March 2019 as the new deadline to clean the river Ganga and ensure a “70 to 80 per cent” improvement in its water quality. With only one fourth of sanctioned projects being completed till August 2018, how can the government achieve this miracle in the next 6-7 months?

Earlier, a CAG report has revealed that during 2016-17, the level of pollutants in the river across Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Bengal was six to 334 times higher than the prescribed levels.

In 2016, the National Green Tribunal came down heavily on the BJP-led Uttar Pradesh government for allowing bodies to be dumped in the Ganga. An Anguished Supreme Court had also echoed the same when they said- ‘Will Ganga be cleaned in this century?,’’he said.


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