IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


19th July, 2023 Geography

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Controversy surrounding a government order (GO) issued by the irrigation department of the Uttar Pradesh government


  • The Uttar Pradesh government issued a government order (GO) declaring the Gomti River as a "non-perennial river."
  • Water experts and river rights activists have criticized the GO.

Gomti River Background

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  • Gomti is a tributary of the Ganga River and an alluvial river of the Ganga Plain.
  • It originates near Mainkot, from Gomat Taala lake (Fulhar Jheel) in Madhotanda, around 30 kilometers from Pilibhit town.
  • The river flows through Sitapur, Lucknow, Barabanki, Sultanpur, and Jaunpur before meeting the Ganga at Kaithi, Ghazipur district.
  • The total length of the river is about 960 kilometers.
  • Gomti supplies around 450 million liters per day of water to Lucknow.

Government Order Details

  • The GO was issued regarding floodplain zoning for 12 rivers, including Gomti.
  • The GO stated that Gomti is a non-perennial river, and environmental flow cannot be maintained throughout the year.
  • It also declared a 50-meter no-construction zone on both banks of the river.

Criticisms and Concerns

  • Water experts and activists argue that declaring Gomti as non-perennial is incorrect and undermines its importance.
  • The GO contradicts the Allahabad High Court's order to stop construction within 100 meters of the river's banks.
  • The declaration of Gomti as a seasonal river disregards its historical significance and the need for its continuous flow.

Environmental and Pollution Concerns

  • Gomti River is in dire need of protection from pollution, exploitation, and encroachment.
  • It is the fifth most polluted river in the country, according to a report by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

Chronology and NGT Case

  • The GO defining floodplains was related to a case being heard by the National Green Tribunal (NGT).
  • The NGT expressed dissatisfaction over encroachment and construction activities on the floodplains of rivers in 2018.
  • The state government issued the letter defining floodplain zoning for the 12 rivers in 2020.

Violation of High Court Order

  • The GO's no-construction zone declaration violates a 2010 Allahabad High Court order.
  • The court had ordered the UP government to stop all construction activities within 100 meters of Gomti River banks.

Importance of Environmental Flow

  • Experts argue that at least half of Gomti River's flow should be considered as an environmental flow (e-flow).
  • Gomti's flow mainly relies on groundwater, emphasizing the need to ensure its continuous flow.

Lack of Notification and Public Awareness

  • Voluntary groups concerned with rivers in Lucknow claim they were not notified about the GO.
  • The GO came into public purview after the work on the green corridor project in Lucknow began.

Call for Protection and Sustainable Management

  • Efforts are needed to protect the Gomti River from pollution, exploitation, and encroachment.
  • Sustainable management strategies should be implemented to ensure the river's continuous flow and preservation of its ecological balance.


Q) Consider the following statements regarding Gomti river:

  1. Gomti river is a major tributary of Yamuna
  2. The Gomti River originates in the Himalayas

Select the correct statements using the codes below:

(a)1 only

(b)2 only

(c)Both 1 and 2

(d)Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: B