The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday ordered the Haryana government to seal all borewells at construction sites in Gurgaon over the next two weeks and take action against erring builders for illegally using groundwater.
The order will have an adverse effect on nearly 450 ongoing commercial and residential projects, the licences for which had been issued after 2008. Most of these developers had illegally dug up borewells to extract groundwater.
Use of borewells for construction purposes is completely banned in Gurgaon.
Experts said the realty sector is bound to take a major hit as the court has already restricted fresh licences for construction in Gurgaon earlier on July 16.
Coming down heavily on the state government for not doing enough even though water levels had alarmingly gone down in the Millennium City, the division bench of justices Jasbir Singh and Rakesh Kumar Jain has also asked it to verify if all existing borewells were registered (for domestic purposes) and if meters were installed. If not, all illegal borewells shall have to be sealed, the court said.
Dissatisfied with the replies filed by the town and country planning department and Haryana Urban Development Authority (Huda) over two PILs filed by residents of Gurgaon in 2009, the court on Tuesday asked the departments to file a consolidated reply on the next date of hearing on August 21.
It has sought the complete action plan to tackle the situation and long-term steps to be taken to fulfill water needs of Gurgaon.
In court, the bench asked SS Dhillon, principal secretary, Haryana town and country planning department, who was the government representative along with other secretaries, "The area had been declared a black zone long ago. Have you ever asked the builder after visiting the site from where they were getting water? Where will the next generation go if we extract all the groundwater?"
On July 16, the court had restrained the government from giving fresh permission to builders and sought replies over the illegal use of groundwater during a resumed hearing on petitions on depleting water table by one Sunil Singh and Qutab Enclave Residents Welfare Association-DLF City in 2009.