New Delhi [India], April 28 (ANI): Amid the reports that water quality has significantly improved in Ganga and Yamuna and has become potable during the lockdown, Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat on Tuesday said that the Ganga water upto Rishikesh was potable even before the lockdown was imposed.
"Several reports have surfaced saying that due to the lockdown the industrial pollution has reduced and hence the Ganga and Yamuna water has become drinkable. As the lockdown is the perfect time to get a clear picture on the reasons for water pollution, I had asked all the stakeholders, officials of my Ministry and departments, who are responsible for checking the water quality, to collect samples of water," Shekhawat told ANI.
He further said that the initial reports of these organisations suggest there has been some improvement in the water quality "but I can comment on this only after the complete report is submitted."
"However, I believe that the water quality of Ganga and Yamuna improved with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Ganga Water Mission. A few months ago, I had shown everyone that the water from Devprayag to Rishikesh has already become drinkable," he said.
The Minister also said, "At present, we are ensuring that no sewage water enters the Ganga. On this, some work is left in Rishikesh and Haridwar. We want that the Ganga should become drinkable till Haridwar by Kumbh Mela."
While responding to the government's work on stopping the overflow of water into Pakistan, Shekhawat said, "As this year we received a high amount of snowfall on our peaks, hence, the level of water that we will receive will be high. Last week, a detailed discussion was held with the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) and other stakeholders. Here, we discussed that this year too, due to historically high snowfall, we will have to release a high amount of water into rivers which then will obviously go to Pakistan."
"The work is still on a conceptual stage. After getting clearance from Environment Ministry and states the work will begin," he said.
Speaking on the coming summer months, he said that in comparison to last year India has 56 per cent more water.
"As PM Modi had declared that by 2024 every household will receive drinking water, we are continuously working to achieve that endeavour. Last year the Centre had given funds to the state governments to do retrofitting so that the downtrodden society too receives water," he added. (ANI)