Ganga cleaning project: From Armed forces, jail term to penalties, read details about Centre’s draft bill

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With an aim to clean the river Ganga, Ministry of Water Resources, River Development Ganga Rejuvenation has prepared a draft bill. The draft bill has provisions for several stringent measures, according to Indian Express report. The draft bill has measures such as constitution of an armed Ganga Protection Corps (GPC) whose personnel will have the authority to arrest those who pollute the river. The offenders may face a prison term of up to three years and a fine of up to Rs 5 lakh, the IE report says. Citing that that current environmental norms are not adequate to restore and protect the river, the draft bill lays down provision for a National Ganga Council and a National Ganga Rejuvenation Authority to enforce the law and protect the river which flows over 2500 km. Among the cognizable offences, there are Construction activities causing obstruction in the river; withdrawal of ground water for industrial or commercial consumption from the land fronting the river and its tributaries; commercial fishing or aqua culture in the river and its tributaries; discharging untreated or treated sewage into the river, as per IE report. The draft Bill envisages the Central government would constitute and maintain Ganga Protection Corps. To ensure better co-ordination and improved quality of water, the government had plans to have a single operator maintain all sewage treatment plants (STPs) in a city along the Ganga, as part of its efforts to clean the river, as per PTI report.