March 31 2015 deadline for units polluting Ganga • 12 October 2014
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All polluting industries along the Ganga will have to set up a sensor-based real-time online effluent monitoring system by March 31 next year. Govt said it was serious about the deadline with Union water resources and new Ganga rejuvenation minister issuing a veiled threat to the industrial units --mend your ways quickly or shut shop. Iterating that she was “running out of patience“ and didn't want to waste any more time in the Ganga cleanup drive, she said the Centre's long-term goal was to implement “zero liquid discharge“ where water used by these industries could be recycled and re-used. The drive will serve as a template in cleaning up rivers across the country .

Sending a tough message to the polluting units, she said that if she had to choose between Ganga and them, she would choose the former unless they adhered to all environmental norms by March.

Her remarks followed several rounds of consultation with representatives of these units located in five states, also attended by environment minister. Using an analogy of a childbirth in which the mother’s life could be at stake, the minister said she would, at the first place, like both the mother (Ganga) and child (industry) to survive. But, if she has to choose between the two, she would choose maa.

Many experts that is preparing the Ganga River Basin Management Plan and R K Pachauri, director general of Teri and chairman of the UN’s IPCC, attended the consultations and pitched for quick action to save the river. The idea of setting up sensor-based online monitoring system is to reduce human intervention and bring transparency in the process of monitoring which has, so far, failed to stop discharge of untreated industrial waste into rivers across the country.

Under the new system, the industries are required to in stall “continuous effluent and emission monitoring devices“ at their discharge outlets. The devices would be linked online with State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) offices and with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). It will allow the central pollution watchdog to monitor the discharges on real-time basis.

The dialogue on Wednesday involved specific consultation with Grossly Polluting Industries (GPIs) located in five states — Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal. The discussions involved presentations from the CCPB on the regulatory framework and from the leading industrial associations regarding actions taken and challenges faced in order to abate the pollution generated during the industrial processes.

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