New Delhi: Union Minister of State for Jal Shakti Bishweswar Tudu on Monday told Rajya sabha in a written reply that information regarding the number of COVID-19 related bodies claimed to have been dumped in the river Ganga is not available.
The written reply was given in response to Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’ Brien’s question on the number of COVID-19 related bodies claimed to have been dumped in the Ganga river and measures taken to retrieve them as per protocols.
“The incidents of unclaimed/ unidentified, burnt or partially burnt bodies, found floating in the river or on the grounds, in the shallow depth, on the banks of the river Ganga was reported from certain districts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in the media,” said Tudu in the written reply to the Upper House.
Union Minister further informed that the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), Ministry of Jal Shakti (MOJS), had sought reports from the concerned State Governments on the bodies found floating and action taken or contemplated for ensuring their proper handling, management and disposal by the State authorities for ensuring the protection of the river Ganga.
“Advisories were also issued by Director General, NMCG addressed to Chief Secretaries of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal and all District Ganga Committees followed by advisories from Secretary, Department Of Water Resources DoWR, RD & GR, Ministry of Jal Shakti to Chief Secretaries of all States/Administrators of all UTs for ensuring proper handling, management and disposal of bodies by the State authorities following COVID -19 protocol and ensuring the protection of the river Ganga,” the Minister added.
The Union Minister also informed the Upper House that the expenditure under the Communication and Public Outreach head, which includes media and publicity under Namami Gange Programme is Rs 126 crore.
During the second wave of COVID-19, many bodies were reportedly seen floating in the river Ganga in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.