The National Green Tribunal has directed the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) to keep in abeyance its order to seal all borewells in Ghaziabad and Hapur districts which were installed without the consent of authorities. A bench headed by Justice Jawad Rahim passed the order after some sealed industries moved a plea before it contending that they were “unnecessarily” closed despite the fact that the units were using saline water for their needs and have complied with all the requisite norms.
The green panel also noted the submissions made by CGWA that it has received 422 applications for grant of consent which were currently under process. It said that some more applications are expected and CGWA was finding is extremely difficult to individually deal with these applications in a short time and sought 60 days to process one application. “In the circumstance, and in the interest of justice and to enable the CGWA to process the applications, we are of the opinion, that it is desirable to keep the directions in the order regarding sealing of industries passed on April 13, 2017 in abeyance, till the next date of hearing.
“In the meantime, the CGWA shall expedite by considering all the applications received by it and pass appropriate order and submit the list thereof to the tribunal,” the bench, also comprising expert member Nagin Nanda, said. The counsel appearing for CGWA informed the tribunal that they have effectively enforced the order of NGT and sealed all industries which did not have consent.
He told the bench that CGWA has proposed certain actions to prevent recurrence of such a situation in the future and submitted several suggestions in this regard. The matter is listed for next hearing on July 13. The tribunal had earlier said that people who depend on borewells for drinking water and do not have alternative sources of supply, need to obtain permission from the CGWA.
The NGT had directed the sealing of borewells run by industries, private individuals, builders or water tanker operators in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad and Hapur districts.
However, the green panel later clarified that it did not intend to affect the lives of the local residents who depend on groundwater for survival and asked all domestic consumers to apply for permission, if they have not done till date. Earlier, the NGT had directed CGWA to submit a detailed report on industries in Ghaziabad and Hapur districts after a plea alleged that incessant extraction of groundwater has resulted in depletion of the water table.
The NGT was hearing a plea by Ghaziabad resident Sushil Raghav and NGO Society for Protection of Environment and Biodiversity seeking closure of all industrial units extracting groundwater illegally in notified areas of Ghaziabad and Hapur.