NGT issues notice to Centre, pollution body on groundwater extraction plea

Panel also raps CGWA for repeatedly issuing notifications liberalising extraction

The National Green Tribunal has issued notice to the Centre and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) following a plea seeking quashing of a notification on groundwater. The plea said that the notification did not take into account sustainable development.

A Bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said, “We are of the view that there are arguable points which are raised in the appeal which will require reconsideration.”

The Ministry of Jal Shakti and the CPCB were directed to respond within six weeks.

Taking note of the appeal, the green panel also observed that the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) had repeatedly issued notifications liberalising groundwater extraction.

Adverse effects

“Extraction for commercial purposes was adversely affecting not only the river flow but also the availability of water for drinking purposes. No effective mechanism had been set up. The CGWA was repeatedly issuing notification liberalising the groundwater extraction in the water scarcity areas in spite of need for stringent action, contrary to the very purpose for which the CGWA was set up,” the Bench observed.

In the plea, environmentalist Devi Das Khatri had contended that without any carrying capacity studies, the existing policy allows concessions to micro and small enterprises drawing groundwater.

“There is no uniform policy for monitoring groundwater recharge mechanism and to check the depleting groundwater levels in the country. Extraction thereof, has to be duly regulated,” the plea had said.

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