The Modi Government’s ambitious poll promise to clean River Ganga came under severe scrutiny on Wednesday in the Supreme Court, which said it seems that steps taken so far will not lead to cleaning the country’s holiest river even after 200 years.

The apex court directed the Centre to come out in three weeks with a “stage-wise plan” to clean the river for “restoring it to its pristine glory”.

“After seeing your action plan, it seems Ganga will not be cleaned even after 200 years. You have to take steps to restore Ganga to its pristine glory.

“The dream project is there. Please try that the next generation is able to see the river in its original form. We don’t know whether we will see it or not,” a bench comprising justices TS Thakur and R Banumathi observed.

It said the “bureaucratic” approach in the action plan would not help in accomplishing the Prime Minister’s dream project of cleaning the Ganga and asked the Government to come out with “power point presentation” instead of giving vision plan and “artistic view”.

The bench said it is not concerned about the financial assistance coming from other countries but is worried about how the proposal to clean the 2,500 km long river stretch will be explained to the common man.

“We don’t want to get into the nitty-gritty of committees etc. But common man expects to know how the cleaning Ganga process will emerge. They should at least know how the Government is proceeding.

“You have given a very bureaucratic kind of explanation. We want to see it in a layman’s language as to how you are proceeding with the project,” the bench told Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar after perusing the affidavit filed by Uma Bharti’s Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.

Broad parameters

The bench, which posted the matter for hearing on September 24, said in the present affidavit the Government has only given the broad parameter on the issue and without the stage-wise plan it would be difficult to clean the river. During the hearing it also made its intention clear that the apex court would not hesitate in assisting the Government by legal processes if industrial units don’t comply with laws.