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Seal all illegal borewells in Ghaziabad and Hapur, says NGT

In its order on April 13, the tribunal directed the CGWA to seal all borewells run by the existing and newly established industries, as they were deemed illegal by the NGT in a previous order on April 15, 2015

noida Updated: Apr 24, 2017 11:16 IST
Peeyush Khandelwal
Peeyush Khandelwal
Hindustan Times
Noida,Ghaziabad,NGT
Illegal extraction of groundwater has been rampant in Ghaziabad.(File Photo)

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has taken a serious note of illegal borewells and directed the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) to seal all borewells run by industries, private individuals and private water suppliers without the consent of authorities concerned in Ghaziabad and Hapur districts. The tribunal has also asked the district magistrate to enforce the directive.

In its order on April 13, the tribunal directed the CGWA to seal all borewells run by the existing and newly established industries, as they were deemed illegal by the NGT in a previous order on April 15, 2015. The latest direction came in response to a petition filed by activist Sushil Raghav and the Society for Protection of Environment and Biodiversity (SPEnBIO).

“Extraction of water from borewells by such industries, whose applications to the CGWA for permission are pending, shall also be prevented till their applications are objectively examined individually (sic),” the order said.

The tribunal also directed the authority to review permissions so far granted to the industries and private individuals or any person till April 15, 2015. It said each case should be judged on merit and a decision needs to be taken on whether the permissions granted are legally valid or merits revocation.

“Apart from the industries who are brought into the mischief of our order, we further direct extraction of ground water by, private individuals, any person or builders without permission or having valid permission, shall face the same consequences and the CGWA shall seal all their borewells (sic),” the tribunal further said.

The petitioners had contended that barring one development block each in Ghaziabad and Hapur, the rest have listed in the over-exploited category where the water table is critically low.

“New borewells, including those by private individuals, are coming up every day in two districts and are affecting the groundwater levels. The court has rightly pointed out that instead of groundwater conservation, the CGWA has become an agency that allows groundwater exploitation,” Akash Vashistha, convener, SPEnBIO, said.

The tribunal has also slammed the CGWA and directed it to ensure that no private water supplier or tanker operator is allowed extract water within or beyond the limits of the municipal-corporation without the authorisation of the CGWA.

“The CGWA shall draw up a list of such water suppliers and the make a detailed inquiry on how and where they source their supply. If water is being extracted after obtaining consent, then ascertain the quantity of water so far extracted,” the NGT order said.

The tribunal also voiced its displeasure with the CGWA and said that it was disturbing that the authority failed to enforce a previous order, which clearly directed the it to ensure that the extraction of groundwater is legally valid and take necessary action if it isn’t.

“The CGWA has virtually become a nodal authority for all industries indulging in illegal extraction of groundwater to apply for sanction. It has, in fact, extended the last date for submitting such applications,” the tribunal added.

First Published: Apr 23, 2017 22:43 IST