Rainwater harvesting:NGT notice to 18 deptt,Inst; queries DMRC

The National Green Tribunal Friday sought response from 18 units including government departments, institutions and a residential society on an application alleging that they had failed to harvest rain water.

PTI| Updated: Oct 25, 2013, 22:12 PM IST

New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal Friday sought response from 18 units including government departments, institutions and a residential society on an application alleging that they had failed to harvest rain water, while directing Delhi government to inspect all of them.

"We direct the concerned Authority i.E. Environment and Forests Department of NCT of Delhi and Delhi Pollution Control Committee to inspect all these 18 units and report to this Tribunal as to whether rain water harvesting systems have been installed or not. If so, whether they are functional or not and also report on water quality and use," a bench headed by Tribunal (NGT) chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.

The 18 units to which notices have been issued include DJB, National Highways Authority of India, Public Works Department, Central Public Works Department, Forest Department, New Delhi Municipal Corporation, Delhi State Industrial Development Corporation, Military Engineer Services, Municipal Corporation of Delhi, DDA, Indian Oil Corporation, Sainik Farms, Flood and Irrigation Department.

Notices were also issued to AIIMS, Safdarjung and Batra Hospital.

The notices were issued on the plea of Mahesh Chandra Saxena, who claimed to be associated with an NGO working in the field of ground water conservation, and claimed the units have installed rain water harvesting (RWH) system but none of them are functioning.

Meanwhile, in response to another petition filed by Noida resident Vikrant Tongad seeking installation of rain water harvesting (RWH) systems at all Metro stations, counsel for DMRC submitted that RWH system is in place in 63 of the 106 stations.

To this, the bench asked DMRC counsel to "file an affidavit stating as to why rain water harvesting system cannot be installed in the remaining 43 stations. It shall also state whether 63 stations where the systems have been installed are functional or not."

During the hearing on Tongad`s petition today, the Tribunal inquired as to why can rain water harvesting cannot be done on the tracks and the space already in possession of DMRC.

When the DMRC counsel said the same was not feasible, the bench remarked, "You have already made up your mind that you can`t do it."

"Don`t start with a no. You are obliged to do it...."

After this, Saxena moved the plea for impleadment.

He claimed that the 18 departments, to which the Tribunal later issued notices, had not constructed RWH systems or the systems in place were faulty.

Saxena sought directions to all the departments and institutions to take necessary step for conservation of ground water by properly making the harvesting system and use treated water for irrigation purposes.

He stressed the need for "constitution of Delhi Ground Water Board which will construct RWH systems and keep a close watch on ground water level and also keep a record of rain water harvested and extraction of ground water every year".

The application also stressed the need for directions to use treated water for irrigation as part of "good governance",

Saxena claimed "the filter media is incorrectly put and casing pipes are wrongly fitted in all the RWH Systems of DJB due to which soil and garbage reach directly to the ground polluting the ground water. DJB has also exhausted the ground water by thousands of illegal borings."

About NHAI, he said it is constructing a special kind of road in South Delhi from Andheria Mor to Arya Nagar where for the very first time a programme for conserving Road rain water was made on each side of the road but the borewell depth failed.

PWD, he said, has bored hundreds of tube wells for irrigating the green belt in the name of Commonwealth Ganes, however, the plants are dead and its RHW systems are not proper.

He also alleged that RWH system in AIIMS and Trauma Centre do not have proper depth and the filters have been fitted wrongly while in Safdarjung hospital, dumps of garbage could be seen on the filter media and people are also spitting there.

In respect of New Delhi Municipal Corporation, Saxena alleged that rain water is not getting inside the RWH system at Mandir Marg while garbage could be seen on the filters at RWH system set up by NDMC at Lodi Garden and Janpath.

Saxena`s application also said MCD in partnership with DDA is maintaining 2200 parks but all of them are irrigated with ground water instead of recycled water. It also said there is no
RWH system in any of the primary schools being run by MCD.
It also said the IOC runs thousands of petrol pumps but does not have proper RWH system.

About Sainik Farms, he said the society was sanctioned bore wells by DJB while it should have been asked to construct RWH systems.