Sankat Mochan Foundation


The Swatcha Ganga Campaign of the Sankat Mochan Foundation is the only case in India where there has been a prolonged and active involvement of civil society in the campaign to clean a river. This document is a historical record of the struggle by the SMF for:

  • Appropriate technology solutions to sewage pollution of religious bathing areas
  • Democratic process
  • Peoples participation

The campaign has evolved over time through a range of key activities. At any one time all these activities will be in operation, but one activity will have primary importance:

  • 1982 – 1992: Catalytic agent
  • 1992 – 1995: Watchdog
  • 1996 – 1997: Technical experts
  • 1998 – till now: Activist for people”s participation, local control, accountability and transparency of process.

These various roles have been fluid and have also been characterized by positive initiatives such as environmental education, village water supply programs and removing solid wastes from Ganga water along the ghats.