Modi Govt Using Outdated Technology, Situation of Ganga Has Worsened: IIT-BHU Prof VN Mishra
"We have written almost 10 to 15 letters to the ministry and to the PM. He never replied."
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had famously said ahead of the Lok Sabha polls in 2014 that “Ma Ganga has called me to Varanasi”. The Modi government had set October 2, 2018, as the deadline to clean the river. The situation of the river has, however, worsened contrary to the promises made by the prime minister, a leading expert said.
Speaking to Huffington Post’s Betwa Sharma, Vishwambhar Nath Mishra, an electronics engineering professor at the Indian Institute of Technology (BHU) and the ‘mahant‘ of the 500-year-old Sankat Mochan Hanuman temple in Varanasi, said that the Modi government has not replied to the several letters that they have written in connection with the Ganga cleaning work. “We have written almost 10 to 15 letters to the ministry (River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Ministry) and to the PM. He never replied,” he said.
As per Mishra, the Modi government is using outdated technology for the project. While the first phase (of the Ganga Action Plan) was based on Activated Sludge Plant (ASP), a modified version of the same technology Sequential Batch Reactor (SBR) is being used by the government, he mentioned, adding, “Even if they are fully operational, nothing will happen. The technology is of no use.”
He also underlined that the disposal of raw sewage into the river leads to 90 per cent of the pollution. When asked about the government setting a new 2020 deadline for the Clean Ganga project, he retorted, “If you keep on changing the goalpost, what is going to happen? He is not having a magical stick. We know the ground realities. The kind of work that they are doing, they can keep doing it for another 100-200 years, and nothing is going to happen.”
Noting that interception of sewage at the entry point of Ganga is crucial, Mishra reportedly explained that half the problems will be over if a proper diversion mechanism is followed and not even a single drop of sewage is allowed to enter the river. “There needs to be a proper diversion away from the river to where you have installed the STP. A new technology in the STP, an appropriate technology, which can treat the sewage to a level that it becomes innocuous for reuse. You treat it and use it for farming and other activities. If you don’t have a capacity of reusing, then you can drop it into the downstream.”
“What they are doing now is partially treating the sewage and dumping it in the Ganga. So, what is the Modi government doing? Throwing dust in our eyes,” he added.
The IIT professor lashed out at the Modi government for its half-baked ideas and even suggested that it has not taken any step in the right direction. “All the big things they have done in the past five years — demonetisation, GST, Make in India — they are not talking about any of it in the election campaign. I think that they also feel that what they have done was miserably wrong and they are talking about nationality, Pakistan, war, Muslim. Everyone is having to scream, “I’m a desh-bhakt, I’m a desh-bhakt,”” he said.
As per a Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) report, as many as 37 of the 41 locations through which the Ganga river flows reported moderate to severe water pollution in the pre-monsoon period in 2018. The report was made public in December in compliance with a Supreme Court direction.