DEBAPRIYA MUKHERJEE, KOLKATA
GANGA, the largest river in India and worshipped as ‘holy mother’, is severely polluted with human waste and industrial contaminants. This river provides water to about 40 per cent of India’s population across 11 states. It is considered to be the fifth most polluted river of the world. One of the key promises made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the 2014 general elections was to clean up the Ganga. Citizens had expected that at last cleanliness of the Ganga will be ensured. But nothing has happened on this front. It has been reported on pollution in general that a performance audit revealed deficiencies in financial management, planning, implementation and monitoring, which led to delays in the achievement of milestones. These deficiencies may be attributed to apathy of the authorities to take constructive administrative decisions; mindset of scientists; political will and poor governance in environment sector. Moreover, water quality monitoring, which is one of the most important components of prudent water quality management, has not been done especially in the context of designs, reliability, errors and pertinence. Of course, the huge amount of public money being spent in the name of cleaning up the Ganga gets projected as a ‘proof’ to establish the concerns of the government, state apparatus, regulators and politicians. But in reality, people in the field of environmental science hardly promote cleanliness of Ganga. Rather they promote the prosperity of manufacturing companies, without bothering the suffering of mankind and the damage to the ecosystem with plants and animals facing threat of extinction. The inverse relationship between quantum of money spent and the status of information on water quality clearly indicates that science is operated without an iota of conscience. This is clearly shows that the top-level managerial personnel, engineers and scientists carry out their job without accountability and responsibility. But in seminars, conferences and meetings (again held at huge expenses), top-level officers strongly advocate their progress.