Thousands of homebuyers who have been living in various group housing complexes in Greater Noida (West) for almost a year are still dependent on the groundwater extracted by the developer as the Greater Noida authority is yet to start water supply to the area.
As of now, nearly 11,000 families are living in Greater Noida (West), also known as Noida Extension. A large number of them have been living there for over a year now without reliable water supply from any government agency.
“As the authority has not started supplying drinking water, our builder is supplying groundwater for all purposes. Groundwater is hard. I have to get my water purifier repaired every two months because the water contains sand, which chokes the machine,” said Anurag Goswami of Stellar Jeevan housing complex in Sector 1, Greater Noida (West), which houses 3,000 people.
“We are supplying groundwater with the help of two tubewells because the authority is yet to provide water supply,” said an official of the housing complex.
Residents said when they had bought flats, the builders had promised Ganga water supply.
“When I had bought the flat in 2009, I was promised that it will be delivered in three years and by that time the authority would have laid Ganga water pipelines to supply drinking water. But this did not happen and now we are drinking groundwater,” said Manoj Kumar of Gaur City complex. Around 10,000 people have shifted to the complex in the last one year.
Environmentalist Vikrant Tongad, who is fighting a case in the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to save groundwater in Noida and Greater Noida, said that the present
situation is not ‘ecologically sustainable’.
“The authority should stop offering possession to buyers in Greater Noida (West) till the time it lays infrastructure to supply Ganga water for drinking. The NGT had in April 2013 banned groundwater extraction for all purposes because this area falls in the ‘overexploited’ category. Builders and the authority are damaging ecology of this area to make easy money,” said Tongad.
As per the rules, groundwater cannot be extracted in this area without permission of the Central groundwater authority (CGWA). However, the builders have temporary permission from the authority for two years.
“I will file a plea in the NGT demanding action against builders and the authority. If we keep extracting groundwater in ‘overexploited’ areas, it will have far-reaching ramifications on the ecology,” said Tongad.
Officials of the Greater Noida authority said they are working on providing drinking water to residents.
“The National capital region planning board (NCRPB) has approved a loan of Rs 200 crore for the Ganga water project. Work is expected to begin at site soon. We will provide Ganga water to Greater Noida (West) in the next two years. We cannot stop builders from extracting groundwater because allottees will face issues if it is stopped,” said Deepak Agarwal, chief executive officer (CEO), Greater Noida authority.