Ravi S Singh
New Delhi, May 2
The Centre has made a push for speedy improvement of 351 polluted and contaminated river stretches, including two in Haryana, four in Punjab, seven in Himachal Pradesh and nine in UT of Jammu and Kashmir on 323 rivers in the country.
A source said the Union Jal Shakti Ministry had taken up the issue with the states and UTs and sought an update on the progress to de-pollute the stretches. The exercise is part of a larger plan to revive and rejuvenate the rivers.
Some of these rivers have inter-state status and the polluted stretches on them are in all the states through which they flow.
The polluted stretches are the Ghaggar and Yamuna in Haryana; the Ghaggar, Satluj, Kali Bein and Beas in Punjab; Sukhana, Markanda, Sirsa, Ashwani, Beas, Giri and Pabbar in Himachal Pradesh; and Devika, Bangana, Chunt Kol, Gawkadal,Tawai, Basanter, Chenab, Jhelum and Sindh in Jammu and Kashmir.
In Delhi and Uttarakhand, the stretches are the Yamuna and Bhela, Dhela, Suswa, Kichha, Kalyani, Ganga, Kosi, Nandour and Pilkhar, respectively.
These rivers are polluted mainly due to discharge of untreated and partially treated sewage from cities and towns and industrial effluents in their respective catchments.
“Non-point source of pollution like erosion, transportation and sedimentation of rocks, soils, agriculture runoff, open defecation and runoff from solid waste dumping sites, etc, also contribute to pollution of rivers,” a Jal Shakti Ministry official said.
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), in association with the State Pollution Boards in states and UTs, has been monitoring water quality of rivers and other water bodies across the country through a network of monitoring stations under the National Water Quality Monitoring Programme in terms of Biochemical Oxygen Demand, an indicator of organic pollution.
With assistance from Jal Shakti Ministry, states/UTs and local bodies concerned have so far covered polluted stretches on 34 rivers in 77 towns spread over 16 states with a sanctioned cost of about Rs 5,962 crore under various schemes, including the Centre’s ‘Namami Gange’ and National River Conservation Plan.
The Jal Shakti Ministry has cracked the whip to prevent discharge of industrial effluents, which is monitored by the CPCB and the respective state pollution control boards.