Delhi Jal Board task force takes on water mafia, illegal tubewells

In what is being seen as the first such effort to root out water mafia, the Delhi Jal Board's (DJB) special taskforce carried out a massive operation in Sangam Vihar and Deoli village in South Delhi.

It is the task force's second recommendation in a week.

The first recommendation was made on Monday to transfer 800 of its staff.

According to the DJB, the task force had received inputs regarding "many illegally dug tubewells on public land in the Sangam Vihar and Deoli village areas", allegedly supplying water to the neighbourhood "at an exorbitant price of Rs 700 per family per month".

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who was on Sunday informed of the situation by DJB CEO Vijay Kumar, and the task force members, "gave an on-the-spot approval for the takeover of such illegal borewells involved in the extraction of ground water for their commercial interests".

DJB officials got in touch with the Deputy Commissioner (Revenue) of the South District, and decided "to carry-out a massive combing operation with the assistance of the police authorities, where a large police force was also deployed to manage the situation".

A DJB spokesperson said, "Joint team consisting of officers from DJB, DC's office and the police force cracked took over the illegally installed borewells. The electrical connections of private operators have been removed and DJB has obtained new connections from BSES to operate these tubewells. The operation in this area is likely to last two days."

A complaint has been lodged under the relevant provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

"To provide security to the new installations, the RWA/residents who are direct beneficiaries, have been asked to keep a vigil at these locations to thwart attempts to damage government property. DJB has temporarily posted security guards at these installations to secure them," a Delhi Jal Board statement said.

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