Villages along Ganga to get real sanitation

published on June 28, 2014

People living in villages along the Ganga will soon have access to individual household toilets or community sanitary complexes as part of the new government’s efforts to clean up the holy river. The toilets will have to be built by states through which the river flows under a drive spearheaded by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation to stop the phenomenon of people defecating on the riverside.

The Ministry recently wrote to all states through which the Ganga flows that people were defecating on the banks and polluting the river, which is a key source of drinking water too.

“Residents of villages along the Ganga River are found defecating at the riverside, including areas close to town and municipal limits. This is causing untold pollution to river Ganga, which needs to be urgently checked. Also, the quality of drinking water to the towns and villages, which is being sourced from the river, is getting polluted and spoilt,” Panjak Jain, Secretary in the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, said in the letter written to the governments of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar and West Bangal.

“I therefore request that urgent steps should be taken as special drive to provide individual household toilets as well as community sanitary complex in all villages, including those near towns and municipal limits falling on both sides of river Ganga so that water of the river remains clean and pollution free and can be utilized as a good source for drinking water schemes,” Jain said in the letter.

The Ministry further said each state should inform the Centre about the steps taken by them to tackle pollution within 10 to 15 days.

The Ministry said the individual and community toilets built in villages on both sides of the river should be regularly reported to the Centre on the 1st and 16th of every month, giving the names of villages and numbers of toilets sanctioned or constructed.

Doctors say the ingestion of fruits and vegetables grown in water contaminated with fecal matter can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, gastroenteritis, blood infection, dehydration, urinary infection and kidney dysfunction. River Ganga is India’s largest river and has extraordinary religious importance for Hindus.

Along its banks are some of the world’s oldest inhabited places like Varanasi and Patna. It provides water to about 40 per cent of India’s population in 11 states, an estimated of 500 million people or more, which is larger than any other river in the world.


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