Tuesday March 19, 2019

Study to look into medicinal value of Ganga water

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New Delhi: The health ministry on Monday said that it will initiate a study to find out if the water of the Ganga river has medicinal properties to destroy various kinds of bacteria and microbes.

This would be the first of its kind research that will also check if the water of the Ganga river, considered sacred, can be used for holistic health purpose.

“In a world where new and powerful bacteria have gained resistance against powerful drugs, such a study, which would explore and examine the unique properties of water of the Ganga, which is believed to not only cleanse itself by destroying germs and microbes present in it, but also purifies the water, is worth conducting,” Health Minister J.P. Nadda said, addressing a workshop on the agenda of the research at AIIMS.

Water Resource Minister Uma Bharti was also present on the occasion.

“It is the mandate of the government not only to clean the river but to also rejuvenate it,” Nadda said.

He said the “valuable scientific evidence generated as a result of this research and in-depth study will help to understand the medicinal properties of the Ganga water”.

Bharti highlighted that despite crores of people taking a dip in the river during numerous religious occasions very year, the river has not led to any pandemic or epidemic.

“This had to be the consequence of some self-purifying power of the river water which prevented its deterioration,” she stated.

She added that the study will help in using the Ganga water with this unique property for a larger welfare and health of mankind.

Besides the government extending financial help, the ministry has said, several researchers from premier institutions like All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), IITs Kanpur and Roorkee, Banaras Hindu University (BHU), National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) and National Botanical Research Institute will be participating in this detailed study.

(IANS)

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A Clean Ganga Not Possible Without Continuous Flow: Green

Bandyopadhayay stressed that the future of the Ganga, as well as that of its tributaries, depends on how quickly the transformation is made

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The Holy River Ganga in Haridwar, Source: Pixabay

By Bappaditya Chatterjee

The Centre’s efforts to rejuvenate the Hindu holy river have failed to impress environmentalists, who feel a clean Ganga will remain a distant dream due to the Modi government’s failure to ensure the continuous flow of the river.

“Nothing has been done for ensuring a continuous flow of the river and also for its rejuvenation by the Narendra Modi government. Continuity is of supreme importance as the holy river has been admitted in the Intensive Care Unit for many years. But the Centre is trying to treat its teeth,” said Magsaysay awardee and a member of the erstwhile National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA), Rajendra Singh.

Spending crores of rupees for beautification of ghats has been “wastage of the public exchequer” because “without ensuring a continuous flow, clean Ganga will continue to remain a distant dream”, said Rajendra Singh, who goes by the sobriquet “Waterman of India”.

 

Ganga, travel
River Ganga is one of the holiest rivers in India. Pixabay

Soon after assuming office, the Modi government rolled out its flagship “Namami Gange” mission at an estimated budget Rs 20,000 crore to clean and protect the Ganga.

 

Under Namami Gange, 254 projects worth Rs 24,672 crore have been sanctioned for various activities such as construction of sewage infrastructure, ghats, development of crematoria, river front development, river surface cleaning, institutional development, biodiversity conservation, afforestation, rural sanitation and public participation.

According to the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, 131 projects out of 254 were sanctioned for creating 3,076 MLD (million litre per day) new sewage treatment plants (STPs), rehabilitating 887 MLD of existing STPs and laying 4,942 km of sewer lines for battling pollution in the Ganga and Yamuna rivers.

 

River Ganga is one of the holiest, yet the most polluted river.
River Ganga is also the most polluted river.

Till November-end of the 2018-19 fiscal, the National Mission for Clean Ganga released Rs 1,532.59 crore to the states and the Central Public Sector Undertakings for implementing the programme and meeting establishment expenditure.

Rajendra Singh said: “Ganga wants freedom today. There is no need for any barrage or dam. We want building of dams and any constructions on the river be stopped.”

 

Echoing Singh, another member of the now dissolved NGRBA, K.J. Nath, said the flow of the river had been obstructed at many locations and its own space (flood plains) encroached upon at multiple places in the name of riverfront development.

However, Jayanta Bandyopadhayay, a former Professor of IIM-Calcutta and presently Distinguished Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation, said the success or otherwise of initiatives and projects of any government in cleaning the Ganga cannot be judged in a five-year time frame.

Also Read: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Inaugurates Bogibeel Bridge Over Brahmaputra River

Managing a river like the Ganga, the lifeline of a very large number of people, is socio-technically a very complex issue and should be addressed with deep interdisciplinary knowledge, he added.

Bandyopadhayay stressed that the future of the Ganga, as well as that of its tributaries, depends on how quickly the transformation is made from the one dimensional perspective of rivers by engineers, political leaders, policymakers and others to a multidimensional and interdisciplinary one. (IANS)