The National Green Tribunal (NGT) is mulling a CBI inquiry to probe whether untreated sewage was being released in Ganga through 30 drains on the river's Haridwar-Unnao stretch.
The NGT is said to be veering towards this decision after its attempt to check pollution in Ganga revealed a shocking tale of government negligence when it picked up the very first of the 30 drains that open directly into the river -the Garh drain in Garhmukteshwar. It was revealed that the Uttar Pradesh Jal Nigam (UPJN) is constructing sewage treatment plants (STPs) without laying sewage lines completely, connecting households or assessing how much sewage will have to be treated.
NGT had on Tuesday ordered a CBI inquiry into the untreated discharge from the Garh drain into Ganga. However, on Thursday, it was considering stretching the ambit of the probe to the entire stretch after UPJN officials couldn't explain the basis of constructing STPs and what their plan was. NGT has divided the river into total five stretches.
A committee of commissioners appointed by NGT, which includes officials of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and ministry of water resources, besides a lawyer, Ritwick Dutta, visited Garmukteshwar on Thursday and their report is awaited. "Garmukteshwar doesn't have a sewerage system. Officials have said that pipelines are being laid. The tribunal obviously inquired how they made the STPs without having an assessment of how much sewage will be generated or any survey on how sewage will reach these. On Thursday, the bench said it was considering extending the CBI enquiry to the entire stretch," said Katyayni Chaubey who is representing applicant MC Mehta, who has approached NGT on pollution in Ganga.
UPJN officials told TOI on condition of anonymity that sewer lines are not connected to STPs and households too are not connected to sewer lines. This means the STPs are not receiving any sewage for treatment.
About Rs 31 crores has already been spent on laying sewage lines and constructing the STPs.