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News updated at 1:34 AM IST

PMO issues Save Ganga order

New Delhi, May 18, 2012, DHNS: 1:28 IST
The Prime Minister’s Office on Friday instructed the central pollution control board to step up surveillance on the banks of Ganga and ensure that factories along the river comply with environmental norms.

The PMO’s move comes as a commitment to ensure adequate flow of clean water during the Mahakumbh in Allahabad in January 2013.

The ministry of environment and forest has also been told to strengthen the CPCB’s surveillance wing to probe whether companies that have plants on the river banks are complying with norms. CPCB has been given sanction to take legal action against erring units.

Prime minister Manmohan Singh has also deputed a senior official from the PMO to meet Swami Gyan Swaroop Sanand – former IIT prof G D Agarwal, who sat on fast a couple of months ago demanding cleaning up of Ganga – to discuss what further measures could be taken for early resolution of issues raised by the Ganga Seva Abhiyanam.

A PMO statement said the Centre will take all possible measures to make sure that the Ganga maintains continuous and unpolluted flow. Earlier, the Centre had stopped work at Pala Maneri, Bhaironghati and Lohari Nag Pala hydroelectric projects on Bhagirathi river in Uttarakhand to maintain smooth flow.

The process of declaring the stretch from Gaumukh to Uttar Kashi on Bhagirathi as an eco-sensitive zone has been started.

A consortium of seven IITs has been given responsibility of preparing a comprehensive Ganga river basin management plan. Following a meeting of the National Ganga River Basin Authority last month, an inter-ministerial group was also created to quickly form the river management plan.

The plan will suggest steps to maintain continuous and unpolluted flow in the river.

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