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Stringent law on the cards to regulate ground water extraction

Uttar Pradesh will soon have a special legislation to manage and regulate extraction of ground water with the provision of heavy penalty on industrial and commercial consumers if they do not recharge water back into the ground.

lucknow Updated: Jun 04, 2019 15:15 IST
Brajendra K Parashar
Brajendra K Parashar
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Ground water,Submersible pumps,Uttar Pradesh
All users will have to seek prior registration of their submersible pumps, tube wells. Heavy penalty to be imposed on industrial and commercial consumers for violation of norms.(Representative image)

Uttar Pradesh will soon have a special legislation to manage and regulate extraction of ground water with the provision of heavy penalty on industrial and commercial consumers if they do not recharge water back into the ground.

The law will also make it mandatory for all users, including domestic and agriculture, to seek prior registration of their submersible pumps, tube wells etc.

“A proposal for making a law to put an effective check on the overexploitation of ground water has already been sent to the Cabinet for its nod and the government will table a bill in the next session of the state legislature after the Cabinet approves the proposal,” people familiar with the matter in the government said.

Currently, only a dozen states have made a law in this regard in light of the Model Act that the Centre has circulated.

The UP government’s fresh move aims at controlling the alarming situation of sinking ground water tables in cities and villages equally, the situation being the most serious in the parched Bundelkhand region.

As per the proposal awaiting the Cabinet’s nod, all consumers will be required to get registration from the competent authority for any ground water extraction device like well, submersible pumps, pumps etc. The proposed law, however, does not seek to penalise domestic and agriculture users apparently for fear of a political backlash.

“Our initial aim, as far as farmers and domestic users is concerned, is to gather data on the number of various ground water extraction devices they are using,” the sources said.

But the industrial and commercial consumers run the risk of being penalized Rs 2 lakh for the first time violation of the law and Rs 4 lakh for the second violation. Such consumers will be required to first obtain a no objection certificate (NoC) from the competent authority before they install any water plant or tubewell that extracts water from the ground.

It will be mandatory for the industrial and commercial consumers to build a water recharge structure alongside before they are permitted to bore a well so that the ground water they exploit is compensated for through the recharge mechanism. The industrial and commercial units, including the meat production units, will have to abide by the pollution norms to be provided in the new law.

Also, meters will be put on their installations to record water consumption by industries and commercial units that will be charged as per the tariff to be decided for water they draw from the ground

The proposed legislation also mandates the state government to set up a ‘Water Fund’ that will be built through the money that comes by way of issuing no objection certificates (NoCs), registrations, levying penalties and charging water drawl.

The legislation seeks to set up a three-tier mechanism to oversee implementation of the rules at the block level under the block development officer, at district level under the district magistrate and at the state level under the chief secretary.

“The three-tier committees will be responsible for giving registration, NoC, imposing penalty and entertaining disposing of grievances,” sources said, adding, “The CS-headed committee will be the supreme appellant body too.”

Based on the assessment made in 2012-13, in UP there are 172 dark zones, comprising 113 overexploited and 59 critical development blocks, while another 45 of the total around 850 blocks have been categorized as semi-critical. The dark zones are areas where more ground water is pumped out than recharged.

First Published: Jun 04, 2019 15:15 IST