Despite the promise of crackdown on illegal use of groundwater in the wake of a Punjab and Haryana High Court order by the district administration, the misuse of the precious resource continues unabated.
Although the administration has filed cases against scores of developers and sealed borewells, developers manage to get their way around, thanks to inefficient surveillance.
The court had on July 16 asked the state government not to give go-ahead to any new construction project in Gurgaon district unless the builder gives an undertaking that he would not use groundwater for construction work.
A pressure group has written to the directorate of town and country planning, urging it to check groundwater extraction as well as the licences given to the developers for building townships.
In its letter, Mission Gurgaon Development explains how “Gurgaon falls in high-risk seismic zone IV, making it highly vulnerable to earthquakes”.
“On March last year, I had theorised that fast depleting groundwater levels in Gurgaon are not only a risk from the point of view of water security, but also from the point of view of manifold increased damage and loss of life in case of an earthquake. The Sohna faultline also lies within the district,” says Sarvadaman Oberoi, secretary, Uniworld Garden Apartment Owners Association.
Oberoi is also a member of Mission Gurgaon Development.
When HT sought the opinion of Prof Anita Sinvhal of School of Earthquake Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology-Roorkee, it found that the residents’ fears were not unfounded.
“In case of the Latur earthquake (1993, magnitude 6.4), it was suspected (by the victims) that the cause of the earthquake was excessive pumping of groundwater for agricultural purposes,” she said.
The groundwater level had plummeted by seven metre a year between 2007 and 2011 in new Gurgaon.