Old water law needs to change | india | Hindustan Times
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Old water law needs to change

india Updated: Nov 15, 2006 02:10 IST
Anil Anand

A British era law providing absolute rights to people over groundwater is proving to be a stumbling block for the government. The law is an impediment on all initiatives to check over-exploitation of the precious resource.

Alarmed by fast-dipping groundwater levels across the country, the government is contemplating amending the 125-year-old Indian Easement Act and providing a comprehensive policy framework in the 11th Five Year Plan for this purpose. The framework will entail considering levying a cess on groundwater extraction (read commercial use) to be spent on its recharge.

Echoing hydrologists' concern over groundwater, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia admitted the country lacked a "sensible groundwater management policy". Talking to HT, he said an expert panel headed by Kirit Parekh was studying the subject.

Email: aanand@hindustantimes.com