Principal Bench of National Green Tribunal has said no groundwater extraction will be allowed by Industries for commercial purpose in area developed by Uttar Pradesh State Industrial Corporation (UPSIC), area at Ghaziabad. It refused to review its earlier order which had set aside a notification of the Central Groundwater Authority (CGWA) allowing extraction for a charge.
A bench led by Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said "Since the OCS areas have been found to be seriously affected by over-drawal of groundwater, regulation of such drawal for commercial purposes cannot be dispensed with for any industry even in the industrial area. The availability of water for drinking is a first priority."
The bench added that "It is for the industry and the concerned authorities to find out alternative ways and means for sustenance of the industries instead of permitting indiscriminate drawal of groundwater in areas till situation improves. Alternative means may be shifting to areas where water is not scarce or to processes where water is not required."
Association of the Industrial Manufactures, had approached the tribunal pleading that the Industrial area has been developed without any water supply. The order dated September 11, prejudices the industries which may need reconsideration.
On September 11, the tribunal set aside a notification issued by the Authority, on December 12, 2018, allowing extraction of groundwater, for commercial purpose in over exploited, critically exploited and semi- critical exploited (OCS) areas, on payment of a charge.
The tribunal order setting aside the notification meant that guidelines issued in 2015, by the authority were made applicable. The guidelines prescribe that NOC and such permission to be given for extracting groundwater, only for drinking in overexploited, critically exploited and semi-critical exploited areas.
The bench said "The 'Precautionary' principle, 'Sustainable Development' principle and the Inter-generational equity are part of life and in the absence of replenishment of groundwater, unregulated drawl thereof cannot be held to be right of any commercial entity. Shortage of availability of water for commercial purposes cannot be remedied by drawal of groundwater in over exploited, critically exploited and semi-critical exploited (OCS) areas. Water is certainly a scarce resource and the industry has to put up with such scarcity."
The bench warned that groundwater is depleting in such areas and measures are required to check such depletion. If industries continue to draw groundwater
without NOC from CGWA as per current guidelines and orders of this Tribunal in OCS areas, the industries will have to face legal consequence of such illegal action.