Life in Gurgaon

NGT stops illegal groundwater use at Appu Ghar

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The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on March 25 ordered Appu Ghar, an amusement park in Sector 29, to stop extracting groundwater from illegal borewells on its premises and directed the Haryana Shahri Vikas Pradhikaran (HSVP) to disconnect canal water supply to the enterprise, as it was being used for commercial purposes in violation of the law.

Monday’s order came in response to a 2017 petition filed by city-based activist Harinder Dhingra against International Recreation & Amusement Park – the company which runs Appu Ghar – and HSVP. The matter was disposed of in October 2018, with the NGT constituting an expert committee.

The expert committee, in a report submitted before the NGT on February 27, upheld the Central Groundwater Authority’s (CGWA) provision that groundwater is to be used only for drinking and domestic purposes, and not for commercial ventures. Moreover, “CGWA has not given any permission in the present case,” said the report.

Gurugram is a designated ‘black zone’ as per a 2015 CGWA report, with the water table falling by a metre or more every year due to overexploitation.

Moreover, the NGT took cognizance of HSVP allowing commercial use of canal water and supplying Appu Ghar with over 4 lakh litres of canal water daily. “The committee recommended that canal water supply may be disconnected,” says the order.

Data obtained from the district hydrologist shows that Gurugram’s groundwater table has fallen by over 25 metres since 1974. With this decline in mind, the NGT has also ordered certain extenuating steps to be taken at the expert committee’s recommendation.

Rakesh Babbar, director, International Recreation & Amusement Park, said, “We already have a treatment plant in place. In the last three years, multiple inspections have been carried out by the authorities and in all the inspections it was found that we were not using ground water. Moreover, we have all required permissions in place by the authorities. If the authorities still feel that some other norms should be followed, we will comply to those norms,”.

HSVP administrator, Chander Shekhar Khare, said, “I have not had the chance to see the order yet, but we will certainly comply with the NGT’s directions.”