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NGT slams Centre over inadequate measures to prevent wastage of groundwater

New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal has rapped the Centre over inadequate measures to prevent wastage and misuse of groundwater saying there has to be specific time bound action plans and monitoring.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said the response filed both by the Ministry of Jal Shakti as well as Delhi Jal Board does not show clear enforceable policy to check such misuse and wastage.

The affidavit is vague and general. It is stated that letters have been written to the States. This step by itself can hardly be enough to discharge the public trust reposed in the Ministry of Jal Shakti.

"Apart from writing a letter, there has to be specific time bound action plans and monitoring which should include coercive measures for enforcement, the bench said.

The NGT said the affidavit filed by the DJB is wholly inadequate to address the problem.

"A very meagre amount is said to have been recovered in spite of the acknowledged problem of wastage of potable water. The environment law is not complied by recovery of some token amount from the violators.

"Overriding environmental law principle of 'Polluter Pays' must be invoked by all the regulators to ensure that wastage of water is not profitable and cost of such wastage is recovered which is necessary for restoration of the environment without merely limiting to statutory changes which are no substitute to 'Polluter Pays' principle," the bench

said.

The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by RajendraTyagi, a BJP councillor from Ghaziabad and an NGO, Friends, alleging that steps are not being taken to prevent the misuse of water.

The wastage of water is taking place in many ways such as overflowing of overhead tanks in residential and commercial areas, the plea said.

According to the applicants, 4,84,20,000 cubic metres of water is wasted every single day and around 163 million population of the country is facing deprivation of fresh, drinkable water at the hands of few others who are almost habitual of wasting and misusing precious fresh potable water.

"Around 600 million people are facing extreme water stress in the country. Millions of litres of fresh potable water are being wasted in absence of appropriate regulations or action-plans to curb the same. Flushing systems are also a major cause of fresh potable water wastage in households and commercial complexes, wasting around 15-16 litres of water in a single flush," the plea said.

Referring to a study, it said that one out of three people in India tend to waste water by keeping the water running from faucets that discharge as much as five litres in a minute while a regular shower flows out 10 litres of water per

minute.

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