Noida, Greater Noida builders canít draw underground water

Green Tribunal Order passed in wake of alarming depletion in water table

In a fresh blow to realtors in Noida and Greater Noida, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Friday prohibited builders from drawing underground water for construction or other purposes.

"We are of the considered view that there is serious environmental threat relating to underground water, wastage and pollution of underground water," stated the tribunal, headed by Justice (retired) Swatanter Kumar, as it passed the order on a plea by a Noida-based environmentalist.

The tribunal noted that there was an imminent need to put a curb on extraction of underground water in any quantity by builders in the wake of alarming depletion in the water table of the area.

"We have no hesitation in passing ad interim injunction, restraining all builders in Noida and Greater Noida from extracting any quantity of underground water for the purposes of construction or otherwise till the next date of hearing," the order stated.

The tribunal's order adds to the spate of controversies over construction in Noida and Greater Noida in Uttar Pradesh. The row had surfaced when a group of farmers challenged acquisition of their land and the Allahabad High Court ordered enhanced compensation, besides allotment of developed plots to them.

Construction activity remained stayed for a significant period in 2010-11. Construction in Greater Noida could resume in August 2012 after the NCR Planning Board formally approved its Master Plan.

Deeming it to be a fit case where the NGT should exercise its jurisdiction and pass an interim injunction against all construction and related activities, the tribunal said: "It also needs to be noticed that underground water utilised for purposes of construction hardly re-percolates into the earth because it is a tree-free zone, has a concrete base and water is wasted as it flows into drains."

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