The National Green Tribunal (NGT) yesterday reprimanded the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) on not following its order dated August 17 in which NGT had ordered that all borewells without proper NoC be sealed in Ghaziabad and Hapur. The order came on a petition filed by NGO SPEnBIO and green activist Sushil Raghav.

The NGT order of yesterday stated that “Vide our order dated 17-08-2017 we had expressed our displeasure and inaction on part of the CGWA and other authorities in not implementing the directions passed by this Tribunal with regard to the action to be taken as permissible in law against illegal extraction of ground water without valid NoC and sanction from the competent authority.”

However, a CGWA official who did not wish to be named said that the CGWA had prepared a list of 165 industries in Ghaziabad and Hapur districts that had not applied for a valid NOC and had been illegally extracting groundwater and had asked the concerned DMs to take proper action against these erring industries.

But NGT was apparently not satisfied by CGWA’s argument as the intimation to the DMs had been sent through e-mail only. The NGT further noted that “On behalf of the State as also the SDM it is submitted that CGWA has not furnished the list of the industries against whom action has to be taken except an intimation through e-mail. Inaction on the part of the CGWA and SDM is noted, we direct them to file their explanations.”

It might be recalled that in an earlier order the NGT had directed the CGWA to ensure that all borewells in Ghaziabad and Hapur be sealed irrespective of having a NOC or not. This order had come about after the NGT found CGWA guilty of procrastinating on the issue of taking action against illegal groundwater extraction in these districts, where water table has fallen to critical levels.

Akash Vashishtha of SPEnBIO said that the NGT order had banned the use of tubewells in the districts for all users whether industry, real estate or domestic. But contradicting this claim, the CGWA official said that for now only the industrial units have been targeted as the domestic users had earlier petitioned the NGT saying that in absence of water supply they are forced to use groundwater. However, the CGWA website does not have a mechanism whereby these users could apply for a NOC. So a breather for the time being exists for them.

The NGT had further asked the concerned authorities to take rightful action and file a compliance report by October 24.

Prasoon Pant, Editor

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