Though the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) marked 20 areas in Delhi as ‘over-exploited’ for groundwater, the revenue department took action in just 205 cases of illegal water extraction in four years.
This is in sharp contrast to 886 borewells sealed by authorities in Gurgaon, which has had four dark zones in the last three years.From March 2009 to June 2013, sixty-eight of the 205 violations were reported from the southwest district followed by 40 in the west district and 26 in the south and southeast districts combined.
Data compiled by the water board revealed 886 tube wells were sealed in Gurgaon between 2010 and 2013. In Faridabad, 38 FIRs were lodged, 33 illegal borewells were dismantled and 14 borewells sealed.
“When withdrawal of groundwater is more than 100% of the recharge in a particular area, we categorise it as over-exploited,” said a senior CGWB official.
According to Census 2011 data, Delhi has about 4.5 lakh tubewells and borewells and many of them are unauthorised.
Revenue department data showed it had granted permission for only 806 tubewells and borewells during the same period.
The Delhi authorities blamed the multiplicity of agencies for such a poor track record against groundwater violations.
“The field agency and the enforcement agency in Delhi are different - as against Gurgaon which is the same,” said Dharam Pal, principal secretary (revenue).
The Delhi Jal Board and the environment department are the field agencies and the SDM can take action only when violations are reported,” he said.
The action taken by the revenue department includes registering police cases, sealing illegal tubewells and borewells and issuing challans.
The over-exploited areas in Delhi as per the CGWB’s database of 76 assessment units in NCR, including 20 in Delhi, vis-à-vis groundwater.
These include Defence Colony, Hauz Khas, Kalkaji, Chanakyapuri, Parliament Street, Karol Bagh, Paharganj, Delhi Cantonment, Vasant Vihar and Patel Nagar.