Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath today said the Ganga river, which is a symbol of 'Sanatan Sanskriti', is everyone's mother and insult to it is equal to 'rashtra droh' (treachery).
He claimed that the pollution level in the Ganga river was the highest after the Ganga Action Plan was launched in the 1980s due to non-cooperation of states through which the river passes.
Addressing a gathering of heads of villages on the banks of river Ganga in Uttar Pradesh, Adityanath said the Narendra Modi government at the Centre is making efforts to clean and rejuvenate the river through its Namami Gange programme.
"The holy river belongs to everyone and is a symbol of 'Sanatan Sanskriti'. It is everyone's mother and people need to save it. Any insult to the river can never be tolerated and it is equal to 'rashtra droh'," the Chief Minister said.
He claimed that non-cooperation of states through which the river passes, led to the failure of the Ganga Action Plan-1, launched in 1986 by then prime minister Rajeev Gandhi.
Several reports suggest that the river's pollution level turned worse after the scheme was launched and huge amount of money was spent on it for almost 15 years, the chief minister said.
If the Yamuna and the Ganga dries up, Uttar Pradesh will turn into desert, Adityanath said and appealed to people not to throw coins, clothes, flowers and other items into the rivers to save those from getting polluted further.
The chief minister was addressing the 'Swachh Ganga Sammelan' held at Banaras Hindu University, which was attended by heads of villages from 25 districts in the state.
Underscoring the government's focus on making villages open defecation free, Adityanath said efforts are on make 75 districts open defecation free by next year.
Earlier in the day, the chief minister prayed at Kashi Vishwanath and Kaal Bhairav temples and also visited the parliamentary office of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Ravindrapuri extension here and heard the grievances of the people.
In the evening, he held a review meeting with officials of eastern UP districts to oversee the pace of development works in the region.