Expressing anguish over the rising pollution level in the Ganga, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) to install display boards containing information about the quality of water in the 'holy' river.
Coming down hard on the authorities for failing to control pollution of the river, the NGT said that if cigarette packets can contain warning about ill effects on health, why should people should not be informed about the health hazards associated with the polluted river water.
"If cigarette packets can contain a warning saying it is 'injurious to health', why not the people be informed of the adverse effects (of the river water),"a bench headed by NGT chairperson AK Goel observed.
"Do people of this country know that Ganga water is unfit for drinking and bathing? They perform achamana (purification ritual) thinking that they will go to heaven. Can you imagine which heaven will they go to if they drink this polluted water," it said.
The green panel directed National Mission for Clean Ganga to install display boards at a gap of 100 kilometres, indicating whether the water was fit for bathing or drinking.
"People are drinking and bathing in the Ganga out of reverence and respect. They do not know that it may be dangerous to their health. If cigarette packets can contain a warning saying it is 'injurious to health', why not the people be informed of the adverse effects (of the river water)," the NGT said.
The NGT also directed the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the state pollution control board to regularly take water samples from the river on a monthly basis.
(With inputs from agencies)