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NGT unhappy over expert panel`s report on groundwater use

Last Updated: Tuesday, November 12, 2013 - 18:43

New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal Tuesday expressed unhappiness over the report filed by an expert panel set up to address the issue of illegal use of ground water, saying the committee "failed" to discharge its function.

"We are pained to observe that the committee has failed to discharge its function. Why such irresponsible attitude towards the tribunal? We are quite unhappy with the report. It is unfortunate such kind of reports are filed," a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.

The remarks were addressed to the panel members who were present in the tribunal on NGT`s order of October 30 by which it had directed them to appear before it in person for filing a "vague" report regarding status of the tasks set out for the committee to perform.

Giving six weeks` time to the committee, the bench directed the panel to initially pick a critically affected area in Delhi and examine "how many authorised underground water extraction connections have been permitted, what are the conditions imposed where restoration of the underground water is contemplated and how many prosecutions have been launched against unauthorised underground water extraction units and if so, to what effect".

The tribunal also directed the panel to file status reports regarding progress of its work from time to time and listed the matter for further hearing on December 19.

The panel, meanwhile, assured the tribunal that complete efforts would be made and a comprehensive scheme provided for checking illegal extraction of underground water as well as to ensure that registered consumers of underground water are made liable to pay water charges for consumption of such water.

During the day`s proceedings, the counsel appearing for Delhi government informed the tribunal that people using ground water were asked to voluntary disclose their usage and in this manner over a lakh tube wells have been registered.

But of these, only 5000 were installed after seeking prior permission, the counsel said adding no prosecution has been launched against the defaulters till date.

The NGT on September 3 had directed the panel to collate data of all illegal as well as permissible tubewells operating in NCT Delhi.

The committee had also been directed to ensure that cases related to illegal and unauthorised extraction of underground water are prosecuted and water meters fixed on tubewells for measuring consumption of underground water.

First Published: Tuesday, November 12, 2013 - 18:43
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