Zero tolerance over Ganga pollution: Environment Minister

Union Minister of State for Environment Anil Madhav Dave on Friday spoke about “zero tolerance” for pollution in the Ganga river, adding that government policies may be reconstructed from scratch if required.

Dave told the media here that a solution to the long-pending issue of the Western Ghats will be found.

“Let me make it clear that we have zero tolerance over the pollution in the Ganga. Even the treated water of tanneries in Kanpur, or other industries, if unfit for drinking, will not be allowed to flow into the river,” the minister said.

Echoing Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya’s vision to maintain the water flow in the Ganga basin, the minister said: “Let’s not talk of saving Ganga, let’s talk of serving it.”

“No one, in my knowledge, loved the Ganga as Malviya did. We will take ahead the document signed between him and British on the issue.”

The 1916 document called for uninterrupted flow of a dedicated stream of the river through a canal and the main stream, while advocating for dams on the river.

As for the flood situation in Bengaluru in Karnataka, where pollution and vanishing water bodies had prompted the authorities to take up massive demolition drives, the minister said: “That’s the file I have at the top of my table right now.”

Speaking on the pending issue of conservation of Western Ghats where about 25 crore people live across an area of 1,29,037 sq km, the minister said the matter would be resolved within six months.

“Every state has its own stand. We will take a clear stand on the issue within six month, keeping the people in mind,” he said.

The minister who advocates conservation of nature with the indigenous people, said that his ministry will preserve the Ghats as well as the people living there.

The Western Ghats that runs parallel to the western coast of India are spread over Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Its one of the eight biodiversity hotspot in the world and since 2010 two special committees formed for its conservation had submitted their reports in 2011 and 2014.

“These must be roads and schools in those areas; people living there also deserve development. I will visit the most remote areas of the Western Ghats,” he said, adding that Tamil Nadu, which had not yet submitted its stand on the conservation, will clear its stand in a meeting soon.

As for GM crops, the minister spoke of “innovation” while advocated “organic farming”, cautiously saying, “soil must not be spoiled; money should not flow outside the country”.

“India needs people like Subhash Palekar, who used innovative zero budget farming, using organic methods, and set examples in Amravati in Maharashtra,” he said.

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