Centre`s response sought on `water smuggling mafia` in Delhi

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has sought the Centre and Delhi government`s responses on water smuggling mafia in Delhi.

New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has sought the Centre and Delhi government`s responses on a plea alleging that water smuggling mafia is behind illegal bore wells in Delhi and authorities are either "hand-in-glove" with them or "turning a blind eye" to such activities.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar also issued notices to the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA), Delhi Jal Board (DJB) and the New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) and sought their responses by September 9.

The order came on a plea by Raj Hans Bansal, filed through advocate Vikas Padora, alleging that illegal extraction of groundwater through bore wells "is being conducted by full fledged water smuggling mafia and police and other authorities concerned are turning a blind eye to these activities or acting hand-in-glove with such mafia".

In his petition, Bansal submitted that according to a July 2010 notification issued by the Lt. Governor of Delhi, "No person, group, authority, association or institution shall draw groundwater through bore wells/tube wells without the prior permission of the CGWA, DJB or the NDMC for any domestic, commercial, and agriculture purpose."

He alleged that despite the notification, "several illegal bore wells are operating throughout Delhi".

The petition also alleged that "permission for these illegal bore wells are obtained by illegal gratification to officials of DJB and NDMC".

Bansal has sought sealing, removal or demolition of such illegal bore wells and appropriate action against those involved in illegal extraction of groundwater.

The petitioner also cited the example of sector 24 in Dwarka where, he alleged, hundreds of illegal bore wells are operating.
He has contended that "illegal bore wells are causing excessive loss of groundwater and thereby leading to ecological and environmental imbalance".