NEW DELHI: All polluting industries along the river Ganga will have to set up sensor-based real-time online effluent monitoring system by March 31 next year. The government on Wednesday said it was serious about the deadline with water resources minister Uma Bharti issuing a veiled threat to industriesâ€”-mend your ways or face the consequences. The government also said that its long-term goal was to implement "zero liquid discharge" where all the water used by industries could be recycled and re-used. Sending a tough message to polluting units, Bharti said that if she had to choose between the Ganga and industry, she would choose the river unless polluting industries adhere to all environment norms and the deadline. Using the analogy of a delivery procedure where a mother's life may be at stake, the minister said she would ideally like both the mother (Ganga) and child (industry) to survive. But, if she has to choose between the two, she would choose "Ma" (mother Ganga), she said. "If the child (industry) would suck mother's (Ganga) blood, she would prefer the mother to survive", said Bharti. While claiming she was running out of patience, the minister refrained from using harsh words at a time when industries are voluntarily turning up to hold consultations for finding a solution. Bharti underlined the fact that whatever the government was doing to rejuvenate the Ganga, would serve as a template for all rivers across the country. Her remarks came after several rounds of consultation with representatives of polluting industries. Environment minister Prakash Javadekar and many experts â€” including Vinod Tare, coordinator of IIT Consortium that is preparing the Ganga River Basin Management Plan and R K Pachauri, director general of TERI and chairman of the UN's IPCC â€” attended the consultations and pitched for quick action to save the river. The idea of setting up a sensor-based online monitoring system is to reduce human intervention and bring transparency in the process of monitoring which has, so far, failed to stop discharge of untreated industrial waste into various rivers across the country. Under the new system, the industries are required to install "continuous effluent and emission monitoring devices" at their ends (discharge outlets). The devices would be linked online with State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) offices in state capitals and with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) headquarters in Delhi. It will allow the central pollution watchdog to monitor the discharges from the industries on real-time basis. The dialogue on Wednesday involved specific consultation with Grossly Polluting Industries (GPIs) located in five states - Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal â€” along Ganga river main stem. The discussions involved presentations from CPCB on the regulatory framework and from leading industrial associations regarding action taken and challenges faced in order to reduce the pollution generated during the industrial processes. Times View The minister's tough stance on severely polluting industries along the Ganga is indeed welcome. She should however not restrict it to this river alone.The vast majority of India's rivers and water bodies face appalling levels of pollution and action on them cannot be taken sequentially. It must be done simultaneously. The message must go out clearly to all polluters - clean up or shut down. The environment ministry must also buttress this with a similarly uncompromising stance on all forms of pollution. Stop polluting Ganga or shut shop: Uma Bharti - The Times of India ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Great Move by the government. It gives enough time to the companies to prepare themselves for the change. With modern technology these companies can restrict the amount of waste going into the river. It is mere carelessness and ignorance that has stopped them so far. They have to be dealt strictly. Next should be the town and city administrations next to Ganga. It is a mammoth task, but this government seems to be serious about it. Hope this same policy is applied to all rivers (small or big) in this country.