Government on Tuesday unveiled its plan to plant over four crore trees in next five years as Union Water Resource Minister Uma Bharati stressed on planting of Himalayan species vegetation that will produce Brahmadrav, which she said, ensures clean river water.
Releasing the detailed project report (DPR), Bharati said Brahmadrav is "not a myth or faith but fact" as she insisted on planting of "suitable" vegetation to ensure ecological flow (e-flow) of the river is adequate.
"We should keep in mind which species to be planted along the river. Ganga has an exclusive property called Brahmadrav, which ensures its water remains clean. Brahmadrav is not some myth or issue of faith alone.
"Brahmadrav is fact. It is an exclusive property of Ganga. This Brahmadrav is made due to Himalayan native species of trees. So, we should plant species accordingly," Bharati said.
The Minister noted Ganga cannot be cleaned by only installing effluent treatment plants and sewage treatment plants alone and stressed forestation will play a bigger part in ensuring unfettered waterflow in the river.
Suggesting that no river like Ganga can be cleaned over a short span of time, the Minister cited examples of Rhine and Thames rivers, which she said took 40 years and 27 years respectively to be cleaned. In the same breath, the Minister though said Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a special person who can complete a work in short span of time.
"It took 40 years to clean Rhine, Thames was cleaned in 27 years. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is such a special person who can complete every work in a very short period of time. Hence, he empowered us and gave Rs 20,000 crore to spend on cleaning the river by 2018," she said.
Bharati said Ganga water can only be considered as clean if its aquatic life is in proper shape. She said those who pollute the river by letting industrial waste and sewage in Ganga are "committing sins" by devoting the river water to their deceased ancestors (as part of rituals).
The DPR release ceremony was also attended by Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar who said the Modi government's commitment to environment protection is "complete and final" as he too batted for forestry intervention to clean Ganga.
"To ensure there is no dearth of water in Ganga, it is required that its catchment area has jungle as it was there 200 years ago.