SC notice to Centre on plea challenging NGT order on water extraction

New Delhi, Sep 24 (PTI):
The Supreme Court Friday sought response from the Centre and others on an appeal against an NGT order slapping a penalty of Rs 25 lakh on Noida Golf Course society for unauthorised extraction of water.
A bench comprising Justices S A Nazeer and Krishna Murari issued notices to the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Uttar Pradesh government, Central Ground Water Authority, New Okhla Industrial Development Authority, and others while seeking their replies on the appeal against the NGT order.
The top court tagged the appeal with a similar pending matter before it. “Don’t over-exploit groundwater. Are you still withdrawing groundwater,” the bench said. The counsel appearing for the Noida Golf Course told the bench that it was using recycled water from the sewage treatment plant provided by the Noida Authority.
The apex court was hearing a plea filed by Noida Golf Course society challenging the NGT order. Given depleting groundwater, there is a threat of irreversible damage to the environment leading to scarcity of drinking water, the National Green Tribunal had said while slapping Rs 25 lakh on two units in Noida for unauthorised extraction of water.
The tribunal had noted that there is no operative non-objection certificate (NOC) as far as Noida Golf Course and Advant Navis Business Park are concerned. The green panel had passed the order after perusing a report filed by a committee of the CPCB and Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board, which said that groundwater is being illegally drawn and the allegation that misuse of groundwater for horticulture purposes is taking place is not disputed. It is not clear whether conditions of NOC are being complied with, the NGT had said.
The tribunal referred to its previous directions that groundwater cannot be used for a playground like a cricket ground, particularly in an over-exploited, critical, and semi-critical area, which also applies to Golf Course.
“Given depleting groundwater, there is a threat of irreversible damage to the aquifers and salinity of the water. Moreover, it is leading to scarcity of drinking water, thereby depriving a section of the society of access to potable water which is already scarce. The rainwater harvesting systems have to be regularly maintained as per norms,” the bench had said.
The NGT had said that the state pollution control board has failed to assess and recover compensation for the illegal drawal of groundwater. “The assessment of the quantity of water drawn needs to be made realistically and adverse inference has to be drawn for the absence of water meter…

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