NGT directs sealing of illegal borewells in 3 months in Delhi

The National Green Tribunal today directed the Delhi government to seal all unauthorised borewells in the national capital within three months.

Expressing concern over illegal extraction of water through borewells in the city, a bench headed by acting NGT Chairperson Justice U D Salvi passed the direction after perusing a report filed by the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) saying there were many borewells which were running without consent from the authorities.

The tribunal directed the Deputy Commissioner from the Department of Revenue to enforce the directions and asked the police to provide necessary assistance in this regard.

The green panel also directed the authorities to mark the borewells, which are discharging contaminated water containing high levels of fluoride and arsenic, in red colour to apprise the public that the water was unfit for consumption.

The matter is listed for next hearing on March 20.

The NGT had earlier rapped the civic bodies for not submitting data on the quality of water supplied to households in the national capital by the Delhi government despite repeated directions.

Irked at the approach of the authorities, the bench had summoned the CEO of Delhi Jal Board (DJB), Delhi Cantonment Board, Chairman of Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) and Commissioner of New Delhi Municipal Council.

The appalling picture of water supply in the capital had prompted the tribunal to seek the response of the city government in the matter, after taking suo motu cognisance of a media report that “stinking and dirty” water was flowing through water supply lines and the borewells were pumping out contaminated water.

Later, it had constituted a committee comprising Secretary (Environment) and representatives from Central Pollution Control Board, Delhi Pollution Control Committee, DJB, Central Pollution Control Board and all municipal corporations and asked them to submit a complete and comprehensive report.

“The Committee will ensure that samples of water from different areas are collected, analysed and reports are placed before it before submission of the final report,” it had said.

Explain reasons for not sealing illegal borewells: NGT

Explain reasons for not sealing illegal borewells: NGT
Explain reasons for not sealing illegal borewells: NGT

The National Green Tribunal has directed the Uttar Pradesh government and the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) to file an explanation for not sealing illegal borewells in Ghaziabad and Hapur districts which were installed without the consent of authorities.

A bench headed by Justice Jawad Rahim rapped the CGWA and the SDM concerned for not taking action against illegal extraction of ground water.

“Vide our order dated August 17, we had expressed our displeasure and inaction on part of the CGWA and other authorities in not implementing the directions passed by this tribunal with regard to the action to be taken as permissible in law against illegal extraction of ground water without valid NoC and sanction from the competent authority…

“Inaction on the part of the CGWA and SDM is noted, we direct them to file their explanations. In the meanwhile, action as directed vide our earlier order be also taken by all concerned and report of compliance be also filed by October 24,” the bench said.

During the proceedings, the CGWA told the tribunal that they have identified the industries which are illegally extracting ground water and asked the authorised officer to take action against them.

The state government, however, submitted that CGWA has not furnished the list of the industries against whom action has to be taken except an intimation through e-mail.

The tribunal had earlier said that people who depend on borewells for drinking water and do not have alternative sources of supply, need to obtain permission from the CGWA.

The NGT had directed the sealing of borewells run by industries, private individuals, builders or water tanker operators in Ghaziabad and Hapur districts.

However, the green panel later clarified that it did not intend to affect the lives of the local residents who depend on groundwater for survival and asked all domestic consumers to apply for permission, if they have not done till date.

Earlier, the NGT had directed CGWA to submit a detailed report on industries in Ghaziabad and Hapur after a plea alleged that incessant extraction of groundwater has resulted in depletion of the water table.

The NGT was hearing a plea by Ghaziabad resident Sushil Raghav and NGO Society for Protection of Environment and Biodiversity seeking closure of all industrial units extracting groundwater illegally in notified areas of Ghaziabad and Hapur.

( Source – PTI )