In an order that is expected to bring to a halt all construction activity, the National Green Tribunal has restrained all builders in Noida and Greater Noida from extracting any quantity of underground water for purposes of construction or otherwise till the next date of hearing.

The Tribunal, headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar and including Justice P. Jyotimani and three expert members -- Dr. G. K. Pandey, D. K. Agrawal and Prof. A. R. Yousuf – said in its order, “It is a fit case where the Tribunal should exercise its jurisdiction and pass an interim injunction. We may also notice that guidelines notified by the Central Ground Water Authority have been violated with impunity. Another factor that has to be borne in mind by the Tribunal is that the builders who are raising the construction of 20,000 square metres and above are required to take environmental clearance under the relevant rules from the State Government.”

The order said though it was stated that such permission had been obtained, there was nothing on record to show that such permission had been obtained. “There is,” it added, “a serious environmental threat relating to underground water wastage and pollution of underground water. Counsel stated that the underground water in Noida and Greater Noida had gone down tremendously. He further submitted that use of underground water by the builders ‘does cause wastage and pollution of water’. However, he is unable to state exactly the quantity of water or the extent of pollution.”

The Tribunal before passing an order of interim injunction also noted that the underground water used by builders for construction “hardly re-percolates into earth for the fact that it is a tree-free zone, has a concrete base, and water largely is wasted as it flows into the drains”. The Tribunal directed the authorities concerned to inform all builders about the injunction order.

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