Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath flags off the Ganga Yatra from his official residence in Lucknow on Thursday. (Express Photo: Vishal Srivastav)
Flagging off two raths (chariots) as part of the Ganga Yatra from his official residence in Lucknow, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Thursday claimed that the river is now much cleaner and not a single drop of sewage is flowing into it. The yatra is aimed at sensitising people about river pollution.
He said 14 crore liters of sewage was discharged into the river through Sisamau drain in Kanpur for the past 128 years but it has now stopped due to the Namami Gange Project.
The river covers 2,525 km in five states and Uttar Pradesh accounts for the longest distance at 1,025 km, the chief minister said, adding that the clean-up is not only a matter of faith but also economy.
The two chariots will reach Bijnor and Ballia before January 27 and conclude at Kanpur on January 31.
While the Bijnor yatra covers Muzaffarnagar, Meerut, Hapur, Amroha, Bulandshahr, Aligarh, Sambhal, Badaun, Shahjahanpur, Kasganj, Farukhabad, Kannauj, Hardoi before culminating in Kanpur, the Ballia one will cluminate in Kanpur before covering Ghazipur, Chandauli, Varanasi, Mirzapur, Bhadohi, Prayagraj, Pratapgarh, Rae Bareli, Fatehpur and Unnao. The two yatras will take road and river routes.
He also announced that his government has decided to undertake organic farming in 1,038 gram panchayats and 21 municipal bodies along the river in coming years.
Besides the chief minister, senior BJP leaders and ministers are likely to take part in the yatra.
Namami Gange is one of the flagship projects of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Last year, he had chaired the first meeting of the National Council for Ganga and reviewed the progress of the project in Kanpur.
Adityanath said the Ganga Yatra will pass through regions along the river and that parks, ponds and maidans will also be built on the banks.
The chief minister said the yatra is being started on the inspiration of Modi, who in a 2014 speech in Varanasi, had said that he had come here for “Maa Ganga”.