File photo of PM Modi taking a dip at the Sangam in Prayagraj during the Kumbh Mela | narendramodi/Instagram
File photo of PM Modi taking a dip at the Sangam in Prayagraj during the Kumbh Mela | narendramodi/Instagram
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During the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been presented with an ‘image’ by media and officials at the Ministry of Jal Shakti. The image is of clean rivers, especially the Ganga, with credits given to the nationwide lockdown that PM Modi announced on 24 March and then extended it twice until 17 May. Some of these pictures, which have been widely shared on social media and family WhatsApp groups, are clearly photoshopped. 

But while the photographs reaching Modi may not be entirely true, the PM does have a chance to put out the correct image of river Ganga, which he has been very vocal about, even making it a personal mission to clean the holy river.

First of all, PM Modi must stop trusting the images he is being shown. There is a difference between the Ganga river being clean and looking clean.   

Consider this. A glass of water with four teaspoons of sugar will look the same as before but taste sweeter than a glass of water with a teaspoon of Rooh Afza, which will look completely different but won’t be as sweet. The same is happening with the Ganga too.

The contribution of domestic sewage in Ganga’s pollution is bigger than the darker and more visible industrial waste that is released into the river. During the lockdown, the amount of industrial effluents discharged into the river has declined by almost 90 per cent but the domestic sewage continues to pollute Ganga in the same manner as before. 

That’s why the Ganga only looks clean. The water quality hasn’t improved.

It’s true that water flowing in the upper streams of the Ganga has become drinkable at some places; but the reason behind this is the temporary ban on the Char Dham Yatra. It has nothing to do with the industrial production being shut because there are not many industries on the hills anyway. The ashrams and dharamshalas along the Ganga are mostly vacant at the moment. This is the time for the Modi government to stop the sewage flowing out from these ashrams from being released directly into the Ganga.

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Uniform data, shifting factories 

PM Modi should next ask various government agencies to collaborate on research so that everyone has the same data. Currently, government agencies even differ on the number of drains discharging waste into the Ganga river. Having accurate and uniform data will help in drafting better and informed policies. During the lockdown, both National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) have been collecting samples. If they share their data with each other, then right action can be taken on the factors responsible for the river’s pollution.

One of the ways to change the image of the Ganga permanently is to shut down factories that discharge waste directly into the river. This will require political will. The lockdown has given the Modi government an opportunity to shift these factories elsewhere. Their share in the Ganga’s pollution may not be much, but these factories must be shifted from the sake of ‘Nirmal Ganga’. The workers employed in these factories can be provided temporary relief from the Namami Gange corpus. The project gives lakhs of rupees to factories just for the maintenance of skimmers, which have been non-operational for the past few months due to the lockdown. This budget can be better used to shift some factories and make their employees self-sufficient.

At present, even the hydroelectric power companies are not under much pressure. It is being estimated that the demand for electricity will continue to be low for some time. If the  companies, which usually open the dam gates during the monsoon season, are asked to release the water now, there won’t be much technical and economic inconvenience, and the Ganga will be in a self-purification mode whose benefits will be seen long after the lockdown. Yes, the hydroelectric power companies can argue that they have to maintain a certain level of water in the catchment area to keep the turbines operating. However, as of now, electricity production is not at full capacity, so it won’t be right to wait until the onset of the monsoon season to open the dam gates.

When Prime Minister Modi had proposed a nine-minute blackout across the country, there were some apprehensions that power grids might fail due to sudden fall in electricity demand. At that time, some hydroelectric power companies in Uttarakhand had halted their turbines. Therefore, any reason to procrastinate from releasing water is nothing more than an excuse.


Also read: Not all murdered sadhus anger the BJP like Palghar. There are 50 shades of saffron


Last chance of achieving a true picture 

Currently, industrial production across India is almost shut and this sector is exploring possibilities for itself in the Rs 20 lakh crore economic package. In the initial phases, industries will mostly focus on producing FMCG goods such as oil, soap to meet the immediate demand. This is the time when the Modi government can stop these companies from producing goods in small sachets. This is important because it’s largely the small packets of oil, soap, shampoo etc. that flow into the windpipes of the rivers, choking them. They are easily available at the ghats of river Ganga, which people use and throw in the river. The everyday number would be in lakhs.

If Prime Minister Modi sees the Ganga now, he will be able to spot fishes in its waters. Pollution and excessive fishing had meant there were very few fishes left in the Ganga. But the scene has reversed due to large scale ban on fishing. The Modi government can now ask fishing entities to use a fixed-size net so that fishes weighing less than half a kilogram are not caught in the net and the ecology of the Ganga remains intact. In the past, this measure had worked wonderfully in West Bengal in preserving Hilsa. In order to improve the economic situation of people involved in fishing, more attention can be paid to the swampy areas of Ganga-Saryu belt of Bihar to increase the number of fish, help recharge the ground water level and make the Ganga appear less sick during the summer.

The bureaucracy might not like these ideas because these suggestions do not require huge amount of funds. But this might be the last chance for Prime Minister Modi to ensure a true and permanent picture of Clean Ganga.

Abhay Mishra is an author and environmental expert. Views are personal. 

This article has been translated from Hindi.

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83 Comments Share Your Views

83 COMMENTS

  1. The writter needs to research himself before posting bullshits. Ganga is the only river in the world which can clean itself 15 times faster than any other river in the world. But you dear writter in force of mocking the government will ofcourse not read facts

    And yess I read theprint articles on Government deals with Chinese companies but never a news of their cancellation.
    That is what is called fake journalism.

    Stop this right there. Go with the facts not with or against certain a certain group

  2. Who’s funding you for all these unnecessary negative news? The Middle East!
    Yes, all of us know that Ganga isn’t clean yet, since it’s been contaminated for decades. Good things take time to happen, but atleast someone has taken initiative for it, unlike previous useless governments.

  3. Writing anything pro government won’t give these struggling journalists any publicity.. so what better to further ones career than going anti national. Sitting and writing articles about what others should do is the easiest thing in the world.. hiding ones own failure.

  4. It is not surprising to see so many people abusing the author and devaluing the article, given that they do not understand river pollution and it’s restoration. Our citizens lack basic scientific education, and that’s why they are easily lured into the photoshopped and naive descriptions in the mainstream media, hellbent upon twisting facts for achieving desired goals.
    The article has rightly pointed out the facts that Ganges has just started to ‘look’ cleaner, due to reduction in industrial effluents. However, domestic effluents, that account for most of the pollution, are still discharging untreated. The key to solving Ganges problem is treating wastewater from municipal and industrial outlets. Aquisition and maintainence of water treatment plants is a lucrative business for all stakeholders. Modi government, just like previous governments, did nothing to address the key issues.
    Lockdown byproducts are being cashed upon as fruits of ‘dedicated efforts’ by Modi govt.
    In the national chaos created by BJP-RSS-Corona combination, this is just a small issue.

  5. Criticism is good as long as you maintain a balance between positives & negatives. Most of the readers I feel are interested in getting a balanced view. The media should be neutral logically but unfortunately we are seeing a lot of biased media.The very purpose of media is to update the public about what’s happening in it’s true sense.But when you get to read only negatives about a govt or its policies in a particular media. Even true negatives are taken as biased.Are you all upholding the true values of journalism? or are you all trying to balance the positive biased media..

  6. When 90% industrial effulent doesn’t fall into a river it doesn’t becomes clean because domestic wastes are still there..!!! Next you would say bacteria is still there and fish shits too!!! I must admire your stupid argument jus to print Modi’s name multiple times in any article you write…
    Twisting shit doesn’t make you an expert..or a journalist..does it????

  7. The article is talking on facts. It’s pointing out correctly at how wrong information is leading to inaccurate results. You on the other hand sir are very biased.

  8. What do you expect Dilip Kumar, Shahrukh etc if they become Prime minister? Simply Nothing, a big big Nothing. Those who have done only posing before camera can do hardly anything. Wonder why someone get so Greatest reviews, cudos, appreciation, claps for doing nothing. How long one can survive only on false publicity and artificially created support? Remember Gold mine scham in Australia?

  9. The only fake news spreading news portal is yours. Your propaganda is no longer hidden from the people of India

  10. Who has demanded the details about all this? It’s non of your business this country doesn’t need such zaloos and tukde tukde opinion Ah too

  11. Modi ji please help me iam from Bangalore
    Iam manufacture brass Pooja article my business is total loss that why coronavirus please give me loan for
    restar our business I want to by rawmeteral
    Iam is msme sector

  12. You guys talk as if river gangs arose since 2014 and has been unclean only since then!!!! Where were you guys before 2014?? Why you guys didn’t give these suggestions to the previous govt? Anyways looks like you guys have trust on PM Modi, and believe that at least he will do something about it or perhaps you think only this man can do something about it.. ..whatever, high time guys, stop being so negative and biased…

  13. You guys are proving again n again how much biased is your reporting trends…

    Stop wasting your energies in the things which can’t be won.

  14. It’s a congress paid media.So guys dont believe any news this print,scroll and wire publish.Take it as a joke and read it as an entertainment.Its a biased article.

  15. Author seems very expert in poluution varities & levels. Request him to study the Delhi water quality & publish an article on the same

  16. Intension of the article is quite clear. Request the expert author to write next article on Delhi water quality

  17. I am disappointed with a such kind of mediocre article… In the past no one cared/ bothered about cleaning Ganga river.. some of the politicians were very busy in looting the treasure of our country n the tax payers money.. Now there is a Prime Minister who got elected in the full majority n cares about his country… The whole World is praising for his work n vision.. At least now u all try to support him for his efforts instead of criticizing every acts done by our Hon’ble PM.. Instead of criticizing n back biting please come with visionary ideas.. so that our country come up with every difficult situations n move forward with a bright future… Dear Editor, it’s not about finding problems in every situations in fact it’s about finding solutions n let’s unite for the purpose..

  18. It’s more like mocking then reporting. Every line has the word Modi Government. I can understand the reason of The Print existence and your audience.
    The best part is in the end there is a small line
    0
    the views are personal.

    Thank you

  19. sold media, at least write PM modi. have some respect. he is not your son. every one knows where is your faith and who is funding and running it.

  20. Modi is actually final messiah of Islam, aka Mahdi. Mahdi will destroy Kafirs like you. Modi is chosen by Allah & represents the will of Allah

  21. Why single out Ganga status is same for most of the rivers and lakes in the country. Government spends huge amount but the corrupted burocrats doesn’t bother to implement it sincierly as they don’t have any self motivation , the present labour law doesn’t empower s the government to fire and hire at it’s will, if it’s employees fail in their duties. Hence amend the existing law immediately. Put the nation first.

  22. Good Article! The Ganga has been “getting cleaned” since Rajiv Gandhi’s time and still nothing much has changed. The author is absolutely correct in stating that all govt agencies should speak to each other and first met get their data right. Real political will and imaginative and bold ideas are required to get our rivers clean

  23. It seems your channel is anti Modi like some other channels are Pro Modi…. It is not good for the country…. Original thing should come to the forefront

  24. Whilst industrial waste definitely do not make up the whole of the pollutants suffocating Ganga, it definitely owns a share. Maybe it’s time for the print to know the difference between Ganga looking clean, and Ganga actually becoming “clean-er”

  25. Can we ask PM and all BJP cronies to take a dip in the gangs once all factories start,, especially on the UP side

  26. There is a contravercy in his own statement he says industrial pollution is not contributing much as compared to sewage generated by human excreta by pilgrimage population so it should be focused more on restricting this pollution due to particularly round the year people visiting number of ghats along the river

  27. The problem with you guys are that you are Anti India. Dividing India is what you guys want. Shameful Journalism

  28. Sponsored to write against the india !

    Have some shame .

    Go join some political party .The print is full of anti government post. Can’t believe that there is nothing positive happening in the county.

    It’s good to criticize , but with you it’s an agenda / propoganda and negativity is in your DNA.

    I believe you get paid to write these post .

  29. The article is informative. But don’t understand repeated usage of the name of Mr.Modi.. Are they no other parties or government bodies that can be named as accountable in the Ganges cleaning programs m Are the population not involved? What about so called environmentalists, why are they not adding inputs. What about Opposition parties in UP,Bihar,etc what is their cooperation in this matter of cleaning. The credit goes to every Indian if Ganges is clean and fish live in her..

  30. It is perverted negative thinking.Many results are visible in cleaning Ganga.Thousands of sewerage treatment plants of various sizes are commissioned in downstram towns /citizens & indutrial discharge also treated.It is continuous activity.Do’t forget our work culture,corruption & federal polity which will take decades.Whatever achieved is miracle.

  31. You are right! These media are interested only in creating sensation. For this only negetive side of any issue suits them.
    We cannot complain…. If one needs to remain sane and positive we should disconnect TV, Stop seeing Online News and stop buying News Papers.

  32. Always… Whenever i get a notification from The Print, it always potrays negative side of things. Being a student of an avid English culture, i know how sentences are manipulated to portray negativity. Now people will say that he is Modi bhakat.. I have born into a democracy and being a true citizen of a democratic society means to listen and understand and reason multiple aspect of a single issue. Being rational. True.. Most of the media outlets are biased and act as a mouthpiece for the Modi government.. But when read these kind of article, it tells me that The print and media outlets like The print are just the other side of the coin. The critical ones. They criticize everything. How will the people of this country develop a rational mindset, a mindset that reasons before picking a side?
    What the media is doing right now is just helping people to pick sides without rationalising

  33. Mr.journalist
    Why don’t you realise that he has seen more of india than you and me. He knows what has been how much has been done.
    If you want to contribute to india positively, pl think and say something that will help country.

  34. I am really surprised to see the way this news arlicle has criticised the reports of cleaner Ganga during this ongoing lockdown. It is just the way you see a glass of water half filled up.
    We r seeing half glass with water in a positive way & this article is only reporting negativity by highlighting half glass empty.

  35. I don’t understand the point of this!? If you believe that these photos are photoshoped (even if they were) you should provide the “correct” and “true” images. Why to leave the public hanging!? Please enlighten us, what is the truth?? Is the quality of Ganga poorer than it earlier was? Hasn’t it improved? If it hasn’t what proof do you have? Just your words, no photo evidence? Nah!? Oh, okay!! That’s cute, your journalism is so factual, can’t even believe!!!!!!!!!!

  36. Heavily biased article. It doesn’t take rocket science to know that stoppage of industrial effluents has vastly improved quality of Ganga water and that’s why it looks cleaner. Writer should have clear mind.

  37. What a chomu article. Just to be seem somewhere you puke hatred here and there. You guys are not journalists you are termite.

  38. Modi ji is doing what best for the country, on priority basis.
    Dont worry minister concern will see what is Photoshoped or not modi ji has better things to do.
    You cant close down all the factories in one go it take time and money so important things are done first.
    When things not done for 70 years of rule from previous govt can not b done in 6 years
    What you hv to say about when Rajiv gandhi sectioned crores of rupees for cleaning of ganga where dd that money go , every one knows what happened.
    We and you hv to to clean the ganga.

  39. I am not an Indian citizen, but I care for the well-being of the Ganga and the people that live and depend on the Ganga.

    Would have been nice if article contained actual pics and with water quality tests, would have given the article journalistic integrity.

    As a reader I am looking for this.

    Secondly, article speaks about photoshoped pics of the Ganga, would have been nice to see these pics with reasons why it is fake, it educates the reader to spot fraud.

    Thirdly, article seems condescending towards your PM, as if he is a layman and would be fooled. Also a claim that he is currently being supplied with fake information. (where is the proof of that?) Have a link to the ministry that is supplying fake images and the reporter should provide actual photos as proof.

    As a reader, I find that journalism in India and globally is lacking the scientific and mature strength behind it.

    People are looking for sincere and well researched reports. Separate the men from the boys, so to speak.

  40. Why will the PM of a country form an opinion based on images, photoshoped or otherwise? More so the cleanliness of a river, which is as any intelligent being will know, monitored along the whole length of it, in terms of chemical composition and other particulate observations? This Misra is innocent of good sense and intelligence. To caution the general public of the pitfalls of images is one thing, but to caution a man who has all the relevant information at his disposal is stupidity.
    Why do journalists spoil an otherwise good article by giving it a heading which is sensational but wrong and stupid.

    • The article is talking on facts. It’s pointing out correctly at how wrong information is leading to inaccurate results. You on the other hand sirs are very biased. Anyways no point showing to people who are too blind to see.

      Good article, and I agree with the photoshopped lenses saying ‘all is well’. High time we wake up

    • What positive you are talking about. Come out of your biased mind. BJP Govt. did nothing positive towards cleaning Ganga. Now due to Covid-19 pandemic Ganga in upper part shows clean but in lower and middle it is still dirty, when the lock down is withdrawn Ganga will be dirty again. Now whole world is under lockdown, in our neighbouring Bangladesh, Pakistan also.

    • What positive side you are talking about. Come out of your biased mind. In six years Govt. did nothing to clean Ganga. This is fact

    • Because they are paid by communists and those people are Anti-modi government so yeah they are just a Communist mouthpiece

    • Why are you not* There! FTFY 😊

      Indeed..

      They must ‘commission positive sides in all of your articles’ — Fixed That For Ya, as well. 😊
      At last.. You don’t trust a certain Iyerwal( no salutation!), do you? 😏 Or any of the guest columnists who are retired military-personnel( “Jawans”, “Colonel”, “Lieutenant Colonel”, yadda-blach-boop) as well, do you?
      {crooning }Uhhhh….{/ crooning} Why don’t you try Rubika err.. Naalaaya err.. Ha! Ms Naila Inayat’s writeups, as well? They must be positive for your heart and mind as they’re uniformly slanted against the Pakistani leadership?!! “Thank Me Now.” 😊

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