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Friday, Dec 06, 2019

State to set up water regulation authority

Will be empowered to issue directions on water extraction but will not be authorised to impose any restrictions or tariff on extraction of water for drinking, domestic and agriculture purposes

chandigarh Updated: Dec 04, 2019 23:01 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Hindustantimes
         

The Punjab cabinet on Wednesday approved the creation of the Punjab Water Regulation and Development Authority, which will be empowered to issue directions on water extraction but will not be authorised to impose any restrictions or tariff on extraction of water for drinking, domestic and agriculture purposes.

To enact the authority, the cabinet also decided to promulgate an ordinance called the Punjab Water Resources (Management and Regulation) Ordinance, 2019.

The proposed legislation is aimed at development, management and regulation of water resources of the state for ensuring their judicious, equitable and sustainable utilization and management, an official spokesperson said.

The authority would be empowered to issue general directions related to extraction and use of ground water, besides ensuring optimal and efficient utilisation of all water resources in the state, including canal irrigation. It will also issue guidelines on recycling and reuse of water and its conservation.

Importantly, the legislation does not allow any restriction to be imposed on extraction of ground water for drinking or domestic purposes. For drinking, domestic and agriculture purposes, the authority would be guided by the policy of the state. It would, however, be required to issue tariff orders for use of water for industrial and commercial use.

Further, the authority would have the right to impose financial penalties upon non-compliance of its orders or directions. It has been vested with the powers of a Civil Court, and would also be required to present an annual report which would be laid on the floor of the House by the government, said the spokesperson.

The proposed authority will comprise a chairperson, who would be a person with ability and demonstrable experience in the field of water and its management with a sound understanding of public administration, law and economics.

In addition, it will have two members who would be experts drawn from Water Resources or connected areas of finance, law, agriculture and economics. An advisory committee of five experts would provide assistance, as required, to the authority in its work, said the spokesperson.

The government will constitute a selection committee headed by the chief secretary and consisting of at least two other members to recommend the names of the chairperson and members. The chairperson or other members shall hold office for a term, as may be specified, but not exceeding five years at a time, from the date on which he enters upon his office, provided that no person shall serve as chairperson or other member for more than two terms.