dredging should be carried out in Ganga to extract the waste material
that has got accumulated at the bottom of the riverbed,"
said Anil Sharma, the mayor of Kanpur at a public hearing organized
by Eco Friends here at Massacre ghat on March 10, 2003. While
offering his prayers to Goddess Ganga and lamenting the growing
pollution in the river, the mayor appealed to the people to stop
throwing polybags, flowers and other waste materials in the Ganga.
He also said that it was high time that the three electric crematoriums
in the city (at Bhairoghat, Bhagwatdas ghat and Shuklaganj) should
not remain lying like white elephants. We should take a cue from
Delhi where there is a beeline for cremating dead bodies in electric
crematoriums, he added.
hearing intended to bridge the gap between the Ganga communities
(communities living on the ghats) and the government officials
concerned. Communities such as Pandas, Mahapatras, Doms, fisherfolk,
boatmen and others participated in the meeting and voiced their
grievances. Seventy-year-old Munnu Lal Awasthi of Massacre ghat
pointed out that the ghat was in shambles as government had turned
a blind eye to the plight of Ganga. According to him government
planning to clean Ganga was only on papers and until and unless
the involvement of local communities is sought by the officials,
projects would continue falling flat. Similarly, Guddu of Massacre
ghat asked the authorities to take notice of the encroachment
of stray animals in the ghat which add to the shabbiness of the
of Kanpur Nursing Homes Association Dr Naim Hamid echoed Munnu
Lal saying that all the din about Ganga pollution was falling
on deaf ears and that the ghat people should take some initiative
in cleaning the riverfront themselves as the government was lackadaisical
in its approach. While underlining the key role of the ghat people
in restoring the pristine glory of the Ganga, he said that it
is because of the increasing pollution in the river that the communities
had lost their earning. He hoped that the Ganga Barrage which
aims to bring back water to the shore of Kanpur ghat would rescue
these communities. Addressing the gathering, executive secretary
of Eco Friends Rakesh K Jaiswal said that taken-for-granted attitude
of the people is the undoing of the ghat communities. He noted
that these communities should realize that it is in their interest
to keep their ghats and the Ganga clean. Emphasising that livelihood
crisis was looming over these communities, he said that various
factors have contributed to this. These include shifting of the
river course away from the ghats of Kanpur and the low discharge
in the river because of the diversion of the water in the upstream
of the Ganga. The growing pollution load in the river, the solid
waste problem and lack of sanitation are also afflicting the ghats
and the people living there, he added.
of Burihaghat demanded a blanket ban be clamped on the practice
of dead body dumping in the Ganga. Regretting that at times such
dumping was being done under the direction of the administration,
he pointed out that inspectors were also being bribed by the leather
makers to throw their tannery waste into the river. Banwari Lal
of Bhagwatdas ghat explained that the rates of electric cremation
had also been hiked from Rs 25 to Rs 500 against the court order.
Fuming at government apathy to protect the Ganga, Babloo Nishad
of Dapka ghat said that the ghat's water has lost all acquatic
life because tannery and sewage waste was finding its way right
at the ghat.
Ex NEERI official
Tapan Routh said that the communities should equip themselves
in a way that they are united enough to take care of the Ganga
pollution at their level. He asked the communities to pressurize
the government to implement ghat-friendly projects that will go
a long way in reduce the pollution load in the river. The hearing
also discussed issues such as failure of Ganga Action Plan, the
problem in maintenance of the ghats, fishing and turtle poaching.
The authorities listened to the problems of the ghat communities.
These included Deputy Mayor Chetna Sharma, V Mathur of Fisheries
Department, Central Pollution Control Board zonal director B P
Shukla, K K Shukla and R C Saxsena of Jal Sansthan, Assistant
City Magistrate Ramesh Gutam, CEO Cantonment board D S Jassal,
K C Sahu of Ganga Pollution Control Unit. They were unanimous
in saying that Ganga clean-up needed voluntary participation of
the civic society and everything can not be left to the government
departments alone. They assured all cooperation and help to the
communities to depollute the river and keep it clean.
SP Crime S
B Pathak distributed Identity Cards to Ganga Praharis, ghat people
who have vowed to devote their time and effort in keeping their
ghats clean and not allow any pollution of the river.
believes that it is high time that civic agencies, NGOs, interested
institutions and individuals come forward to understand the pollution
problems due to which the Ganga communities are being hit adversely.
It is hoped that a series of such jan sunvai would pave the path
of the revival of the glory of river Ganga, the sanctity of the
ghats and the safeguard livelihood of the Ganga communities.