Expressing anguish over the illegal extraction of groundwater for construction in Gurgaon, the Punjab and Haryana high court on Tuesday slammed the Haryana government for failing to check the ongoing illegal "activity".
The court has directed Gurgaon deputy commissioner and Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) to constitute teams to check whether any such construction was being carried out. It was made clear that if any builder was found using groundwater for construction, immediate action would be taken against him.
The authorities were directed by the division bench comprising acting chief justice Jasbir Singh and justice Rakesh Kumar Jain to verify if all borewells were registered and meters installed. The court has ordered the sealing of such borewells.
The bench was shocked to hear from the principal secretary, Haryana town and country planning department, SS Dhillon, that around 6 to 8 millon gallons (mgd) of water, which was meant for drinking purpose only, was illegally being extracted from the ground. The bench said, "If the departments are supplying water to the builders, it is not expected that they draw water from borewells."
The bench questioned the secretary: "Have you ever enquired from where the builders were getting water for construction?" Dissatisfied with the replies, the court asked several departments, including Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) and town and country planning, to file a consolidated reply on the next date of hearing, giving the complete plan to tackle the situation.
The central government counsel informed the court that despite repeated court orders, 469 illegal borewells were detected in Gurgaon. On being questioned by the court, Dhillon said 1,962 water connections had been supplied to the industrial, institutional and commercial areas and 30 such connections to colonizers in Gurgaon.
He said HUDA had sanctioned nearly 27,000 water connections and municipal corporation around 50,000. Dhillon said: "The water requirement of the area under HUDA is 11 mgd, but only 70% requirement was being met. As per the norms, 135-litre per capita per day should be supplied, but we are able to roughly supply 100 litre per capita per day. Rs 200 crore are being spent on development of water works for Gurgaon which would be ready by December end." The case will now be heard on August 21.