NGT Raps Delhi Govt Over Illegal Borewells At Narela, Bawana
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has rapped the Aam Aadmi Party government and the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) over illegal borewells at Narela and Bawana industrial areas in the city which has led to serious depletion of water levels.
A Bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar took exception to the "abuse" of its interim order to allow borewells in these industrial areas by the Delhi government. The tribunal was hearing petitions, opposing the illegal use of groundwater in Delhi.
The green panel had in 2014 set up committees, comprising officials of the DJB, the Central Ground Water Authority, the city government and other bodies to seal the illegal borewells in these industrial areas and file a comprehensive report. It had also ordered the panels to prepare a comprehensive report on the number of borewells that were being operating in the industrial pockets, including Bawana and Narela. The panel was also entrusted with the job of checking whether the operators of these borewells had the permission from a competent authority to run them.
On November 28, the NGT said that even after the 2014 direction, the Delhi government had failed to submit any action plan, and said its order to allow water extraction was interim in nature.
"Three years have gone by and till date, you have not proposed a plan as to how you will provide these industries water for their consumption. You can't abuse our interim orders … Why did you permit these industries to extract water if you cannot provide them water? How can you set up industries if you don't even have basic facility like water?" the Bench said.
The NGT was told that the industrial cluster was being set up by city government's infrastructure development agency, the Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (DSIIDC). The Bench then directed the DSIIDC officer to appear and inform it about the status of these industries with regard to water extraction and other facilities.
In 2014, the NGT had directed the DJB to collect Rs 50,000 as fee from all water packaging industries at Bawana and Narela for extracting groundwater, and said they would have to pay for usage from December 2012.
It had also directed the industries to apply for installing borewells and asked other industrial units in the area to pay Rs 20,000 every year per borewell.
Taking serious note of the "water scarcity" in Delhi, the tribunal had earlier pulled up the authorities for failing to perform their statutory administrative obligation in ensuring adequate water supply.
With inputs from Housing News