NEW DELHI: Wastage and misuse of potable water / groundwater will henceforth, be a punishable offence in India.
In an important, landmark development in the history of groundwater preservation in the country, the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA), under the Ministry of Jal Shakti, Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation has issued a new directive under Section 5 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, after being so directed by National Green Tribunal (NGT) making misuse of groundwater an offence in India, with violations punishable with up to five years in jail or up to Rs 1 lakh fine.
The National Green Tribunal issued this notification after hearing a petition by Rajendra Tyagi and the NGO FRIENDS and represented by their counsel Akash Vashishtha, seeking to make water wastage and misuse a punishable offence in the country.
As per the notification, the civic bodies dealing with water supply in all states and Union Territories shall be duty-bound to ensure that there is no waste or misuse of potable water tapped from underground and evolve a compliance mechanism, with coercive measures for violations.
The notification by the authority, which comes under the Ministry of Jal Shakti, stated, "The civic bodies dealing with water supply in all States and Union Territories whether it is Jal Board, Jal Nigam, Water Works Department, Municipal Corporation, Municipal Council, Development Authority or Panchayat, shall be duty bound to ensure that there is no waste or misuse of potable water tapped from underground and evolve a compliance mechanism with conceive measures for violations.
It is pertinent to mention here that failure to comply with this Notification, in each such incident of failure or contravention, be punishable with imprisonment for a tem which may extent do five years or with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees, or with both, and in case the failure or contravention continues, with additional fine, which may extend to five thousand rupees for every day during which such failure or contravention continues after the conviction for the first such failure or contravention, under Section 15 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.