The Central Ground Water Authority or the CGWA has written to district magistrate of Ghaziabad as well as the regional director of its CGW Board in Lucknow to take action on complaints raised by environmentalist Sushil Raghav about illegal water extraction by Bisleri International and Moon Beverages plants in Sahibabad Industrial Area of Ghaziabad. Notably, both these entities are extracting huge qualities of water in Sahibabad area. The NOC of Bisleri expired in May this year while the NOC of Moon expired way back in 2018 but Raghav pointed out that the NOC themselves were issued illegally to these units as Ghaziabad municipal area has been declared as a notified area where water extraction through borewells is only allowed for drinking & domestic purposes- that too in areas where municipal or government supply is not available.
Raghav alleged that existence of Bisleri and Moon has been shown as being outside the municipal area in another block that does not fall under notified category.
“The CGWA while issuing NOCs to these companies has identified them to be a part of Razapur block that does not come under notified category. In reality both Bisleri and Moon are situated in Site 4 Industrial Area of Sahibabad that falls in municipal area and is a notified area,” alleged Raghav.
He also said that CGWA had issued notices citing the salinity of water existing in Sahibabad Industrial Area but no such study has been undertaken by the Authority. In fact he said that no survey regarding the availability of groundwater in Ghaziabad has been done by any agency of late.
CGWA Administrator VV Vardhan said that the regional director of the Board makes the on-site assessment and is responsible for monitoring of the water augmentation and other measures as mandated by the CGWA before making a recommendation of NOC renewal. He also said that if any legal issue arises then the DM of the area is the nodal officer empowered to take action. However, Vardhan admitted that so far no action has been taken against industry for guideline violations.
Vardhan remarked that several industries were extracting groundwater in Ghaziabad area prior to getting notified but after notification NOCs became mandatory. He also said that a new set of guidelines will be soon submitted by Ministry of Environment, Forest & CC (MoEF) to the NGT that are likely to supersede the existing guidelines.
However, Raghav’s letter also alleged that these companies had been issued show-cause notices that clearly shows that they had not been complying with the guidelines and hence action against them is warranted.
-By Prasoon Pant, delhincrnews.in