Clarifying its previous orders that all illegal borewells in Ghaziabad and Hapur district must be sealed, the National Green Tribunal issued an order saying that domestic borewells on which families are dependent for water should get a no objection certificate (NOC)/permission from the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA).
A detailed order clarifying the previous April 13 order was issued on April 27. This was after counsels for the respondents — UP pollution control board and CGWA — said that the April 13 order is understood to include sealing of even domestic borewells in cases where families are dependent on borewell water.
On April 27, NGT said the earlier directions shall not mean or be construed as a direction to seal “single domestic borewell if the family or group of families depend on it for their daily domestic consumption and are not having any alternative mode of supply of water through the Nagar Nigam or otherwise (sic).”
“However, such of those domestic utilizers/operators of domestic borewells should place the NoC/permission granted by the CGWA for extraction of groundwater by the CGWA. If they have applied for grant of permission, in which event, action should not be taken against them for a period of at least two weeks during which period the CGWA shall consider their application and pass appropriate order (sic),” the order stated.
However, the tribunal said that the authorised officer may intimate all domestic consumers of NGT directions to enable them to make request for permission. It further said that for the purpose of the enforcement, CGWA may adopt means such as disconnection of electricity.
In its order on April 13, the NGT had taken up the issue of illegal borewells and directed the CGWA to seal all borewells run by industries, private individuals and private water suppliers, running without permissions and consent in Ghaziabad and Hapur districts.
The tribunal had also directed the CGWA to seal all borewells run by existing and newly established industries that were not granted consent as on the date of a previous order of the NGT issued on April 15, 2015. The directions came in connection with a petition filed by activist Sushil Raghav and the Society for Protection of Environment and Biodiversity (SPEnBIO).
The petitioners had contended that barring one development block each in Ghaziabad and Hapur, the rest have moved to the over-exploited category of groundwater level where the water table is critically low.