Most water parks ‘illegal’

They allegedly do not have required permits

Delhi’s water amusement parks, one of the biggest crowd-pullers and a favourite among kids, are in fact illegal.

According to senior government officials, none of these parks have been given a licence to operate. Not just this, most of them extract gallons of groundwater without any permit.

The issue came up recently at a meeting of the North Delhi Municipal Corporation’s Standing Committee, where councillors voiced concern over unauthorised events taking place in farmhouses, resorts and motels. To Leader of Opposition Mukesh Goel’s question about water parks on the GT-Karnal Road, the Superintendent Engineer (Headquarters) said the amusement parks with water rides were “not allowed” at all.

“If the water parks are not allowed, how are these facilities working? They are illegally extracting groundwater for their rides and there is no check on the health standards,” said Mr. Goel.

While these amusement parks have been operational for years, it is only now that action is being taken against the illegal borewells from where hundreds of gallons of water is extracted each day. “On June 9, we sealed all five borewells in one of the amusement parks. Another one has been sealed in a park at Peera Garhi,” said North-West Delhi Deputy Commissioner Sanjay Goel.

Many other parks are extracting water from concealed borewells. South-West Delhi DC Ankur Garg said a special committee, which includes officials of the DJB and the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA), had been formed to look into the matter.

However, the DCs admitted that inspections suffered due to acute shortage of staff. “A tehsildar has to conduct such inspections, but they are busy with a lot of other work. In many cases, the SDMs have to go for inspections. It is essential that we have a force of technical staff who could regularly conduct inspections on illegal ground-water extraction,” said Mr Goel.

The CGWA too claimed that most of these parks were functioning not only without licences, but also without registration. “The CGWA no longer handles such cases. In 1998-99, we had issued registrations for borewells to several applicants. They were mostly for agricultural purpose. Most of them must have expired by now,” said a senior CGWB official.

This, in a scenario when ground water levels are fast falling, is not good news. “In Delhi, the groundwater table spread over 1,484 square kilometres, has declined between 2 and 20 metres. We are now actually looking at a possibly huge water crisis if the situation is not remedied soon,” said a CGWB official.

The city needs over 3,324 million litres of water a day (MLD), while it gets just over 2,000 MLD. The average water consumption in Delhi is estimated at 240 litres per capita per day (lpcd), the highest in the country.

The CGWB has also restricted illegal borewells in NCR areas. Noida District Magistrate N.P. Singh said, “Inspections at water parks have been ordered. We will take action if any irregularities are found.”

He said the amusement parks, which have water rides, pay an entertainment tax to the State government and had received relevant clearances from the Noida Authority and the Environment Department.

The issue came up at a meeting where councillors voiced concern over unauthorised events taking place in farmhouses, resorts and motels

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 1:52:01 PM |

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