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Stop polluting Ganga or shut shop: Uma Bharti

 NEW DELHI: All polluting industries along the river Ganga will have to set up sensor-based real-time online effluent monitoring system by March 31 next year. The government on Wednesday said it was serious about the deadline with water resources minister Uma Bharti issuing a veiled threat to industries—-mend your ways or face the consequences.

The government also said that its long-term goal was to implement "zero liquid discharge" where all the water used by industries could be recycled and re-used.

Sending a tough message to polluting units, Bharti said that if she had to choose between the Ganga and industry, she would choose the river unless polluting industries adhere to all environment norms and the deadline.

Using the analogy of a delivery procedure where a mother's life may be at stake, the minister said she would ideally like both the mother (Ganga) and child (industry) to survive. But, if she has to choose between the two, she would choose "Ma" (mother Ganga), she said.

"If the child (industry) would suck mother's (Ganga) blood, she would prefer the mother to survive", said Bharti. While claiming she was running out of patience, the minister refrained from using harsh words at a time when industries are voluntarily turning up to hold consultations for finding a solution.

Bharti underlined the fact that whatever the government was doing to rejuvenate the Ganga, would serve as a template for all rivers across the country.

Her remarks came after several rounds of consultation with representatives of polluting industries. Environment minister Prakash Javadekar and many experts — including Vinod Tare, coordinator of IIT Consortium that is preparing the Ganga River Basin Management Plan and R K Pachauri, director general of TERI and chairman of the UN's IPCC — attended the consultations and pitched for quick action to save the river.

 

Oct 9, 2014, The Times of India