In an expedition which lasted over a month, a 40 member team led by Everester Bachendri Pal, the country’s first woman who reached the summit of Mount Everest in 1984, removed over 55 tons of garbage and waste from the Ganga, reports DNA.
According to Pal, the entire expedition route of 1500 km from Haridwar to Patna, which the team covered under their ‘Mission Gange’ was extremely polluted. The team removed over 55 tons of garbage from the river in the expedition which began on 1st October. The team also included Everesters Premlata Agarwal, first Indian woman to climb all the seven summit of the world as well as Hemant Gupta and Binita Soren.
The team sailed through the river along Bijnor, Farukhabad, Kanpur, Allahabad, Varanasi, Buxar and Patna pulling waste and all along which was disposed of by the respective municipalities of the seven towns the team reached.
Pal confirmed that throughout the expeditions several awareness campaigns were also conducted by her team which educated people of the need for ‘clean Ganga’, a responsibility towards which the central government has also been working relentlessly. “We had a good experience in making aware hundreds of people, including school children, who joined us at every destination about the need for clean Ganga,” she said.
‘Namami Gange Programme’, an integrated conservation mission, was approved as the flagship programme by the BJP government in May 2015 to accomplish the objectives of effective abatement of pollution, conservation, and rejuvenation of the Ganga. The project is being carried out aggressively under the supervision of the present Minister for Ministry for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of India, Nitin Gadkari, who claimed that the result of Ganga cleaning works would be visible on the ground by March next year as the river (water quality) would be 70 to 80% cleaner (from 2014-15 level) by that time.
In August we reported how, in a bid to help strengthen the Government’s efforts to the ongoing cleaning Ganga project, the German government has decided to provide a soft loan of Euro 120 million or Rs 990 crore to India for cleaning Ganga project in Uttarakhand.
To expedite the entire process, the deadline for which has been set as 2020, the Territorial Army (TA), a part of Indian Army, comprising of ex-servicemen, have now expanded its footprint to clean Ganga with a Composite Ecological Task Force (CETF), for which the government has also allocated about Rs 167 crore to the battalion.
Understanding the importance of safe and clean water, the government, irrespective of all the criticisms faced, is all set to take up and effectuate this dauntless challenge of cleaning the ‘Ganga’, which now enjoys the same legal rights that are available to all the human beings after the Uttarakhand High Court declared it as the first living entity of India, within the stipulated time frame.