Residents who have installed submersible pumps in their name beware! as a complaint in this regard to the district administration can land them in jail and further they may have to pay a steep fine as well. The Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) has prescribed these strict norms in their guidelines regarding notified areas including Ghaziabad, although it is another matter that few would have been penalized up to now.

With depleting groundwater in the country, suddenly states and the Centre have woken up to the need of preserving this precious resource. However, things have not moved as they should be, though some recent judgments of National Green Tribunal (NGT) have given hope for conserving groundwater. The CGWA is the nodal agency to regulate groundwater in the country. It had also come under fire from NGT regarding laxity in monitoring and controlling the illegal extraction of groundwater in Ghaziabad and Hapur.

According to green activist and Ghaziabad resident Akash Vashishtha, who had filed the petition in NGT through his NGO, “Ghaziabad is largely a notified area and hence there are strict norms regarding the extraction of groundwater that should be followed.” Lately, the district administration had sealed a number of borewells in industrial areas of Ghaziabad that did not have a NOC.

Another green activist and a resident of Ghaziabad, Sushil Raghav said that the DM being the nodal officer has full authority to penalize residents installing submersibles if they have access to municipal water supply. He said that rampant illegal extraction of groundwater has led to an alarming fall in water table in Ghaziabad that could be down up to 180-200 ft.

However, when it comes to housing societies and individual households the CGWA guidelines clearly say that households not having any municipal supply can apply for an NOC to the district administration or DM. They also need to attach document from the municipal corporation stating that no municipal supply is available in their area. “Sadly, despite these stringent conditions action had seldom been taken by the CGWA or administration against such violations,” said Vashisht. “But if a complaint is made then such submersible pumps/ borewells can be sealed and further action can be initiated,” he added.

For individual households the CGWA has said that “Permission to be granted only for such cases where public water supply system does not exist. The permission shall be valid only till such time there is no public water supply provided.” It further says that, “A certificate from the water supply agency regarding non-availability of government water supply to the area/individual is to be submitted by the applicant.”

The CGWA has pronounced substantial penalty for violation of these guidelines. Any person found to be in violation of the above conditions will attract legal action under section 15 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. Section 15 prescribes a maximum prison term of 5 years and an imprisonment up to one year or both.

 

-Prasoon Pant, delhincrnews.in

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