Saturday, July 15, 2006


2. Ganga Action Plan Making Progress (jULY 8 06)

NEW DELHI, INDIA, July 10: India's first river action plan, Ganga Action Plan, has led to a significant improvement in the river's water quality. Last year's summer average values, recorded from March to June, for dissolved Oxygen (DO) and biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) showed a marked improvement as against the levels noted in 1986, according to data released here today. The water quality monitoring was done by independent institutes like Central Pollution Control Board, Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd, Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, and Indian Toxicological Research Centre. The reports showed that in spite of a phenomenal increase in population in the urban centers located upstream of the Ganga, there was a clear improvement in terms of BOD during this period at Kannauj, Kanpur, Allahabad, Varanasi and Patna. At Kanpur, though the values were decreasing, they are yet to achieve the desired standards because of the un-tackled pollution load remaining in the waters.

The Ganga Action Plan was taken up by the environment and forests ministry in 1985. Since then its scope has increased to all the major rivers of the country and the program was further extended to other major rivers of the country in 1995 under the National River Conservation Plan (NRCP). At present, the centrally sponsored NRCP scheme is under implementation in 160 towns along polluted stretches of 34 rivers spread over 20 States at an approved cost of US$1.1 billion. The major rivers included are Ganga, Yamuna, Gomti, Damodar, Satluj, Krishna, Cauveri and Godavari among others. The objective of NRCP is to check pollution in rivers through implementation of pollution abatement schemes to bring the river to bathing quality standards. These include interception and diversion works to capture the raw sewage flowing into the river through open drains and diverting them for treatment; sewage treatment plants for treating the diverted sewage; and low-cost sanitation works.


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