Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding illegal extraction of groundwater in Saket and Mehrauli, Delhi, 24/07/2023

Order of the National Green Tribunal in the matter of Pritipal Sharma Vs Govt. of NCT of Delhi & Others dated 24/07/2023. The National Green Tribunal asked the Central Ground Water Board/Authority to "issue necessary regulatory directions with a view to preserve and protect the underground water". The tribunal wanted the CGWA to take up this matter on an urgent basis.

The court observed that even after repeated complaints filed before the authorities concerned regarding illegal extraction of groundwater in parts of Mehrauli and Saket, Delhi, no remedial action has been taken. The applicant has further submitted that there are tanker mafias which are extracting groundwater and through RO Plants, they are doing commercial activities and the authorities concerned are not taking any action against these tanker mafias.

Sub Divisional Magistrates, Mehrauli and Saket acknowledged that proper remedial actions by way of closing the borewells and recovery of compensation for the illegal withdrawal of groundwater has not been taken by the authorities concerned and the activities are adversely affecting the environment.

The NGT directed the SDMs of Mehrauli and Saket  to take necessary action and develop effective mechanism for preventing extraction of groundwater by unauthorized operators and tanker mafias and asked them to take prompt coercive measures. The illegal borewells must be stopped immediately and sealed according to the rules. The past violations and extraction of groundwater shall be calculated according to rules and according to parameters laid down by the CPCB and the environmental compensation must be imposed according to law, said the order.

SDM was further directed to take assistance from the electricity department and to ensure disconnection of electricity supply for illegal borewells which are being used for illegal extraction of groundwater/borewells. Further action taken report has to be filed within three weeks, the order added.