NGT notice to Railways over groundwater use

The directions came on a plea alleging that the national transporter was indiscriminately using groundwater for cleaning train coaches and platforms.File Photo  

Massive extraction of groundwater by the Railways to clean train coaches and platforms has caught the attention of the National Green Tribunal, which on Thursday asked the national transporter to respond to a plea alleging this was being done “indiscriminately and illegally”.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar issued notices to the Ministries of Railways and Environment and Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) and sought their reply within two weeks after a plea alleged that the state—run behemoth was extracting groundwater without permission from concerned authorities. The directions came on a plea filed by NGO Society for Protection of Environment and Biodiversity and Ghaziabad resident Sushil Raghav seeking directions to stop “indiscriminate withdrawal” of groundwater.

The plea, filed by advocate Antima A Bazaz, has sought directions to Railways to install rainwater harvesting systems in all its 73 divisions across 16 zones.

“The present application raises the issue of illegal and indiscriminate withdrawal of groundwater by the Railways for commercial and industrial uses in the notified as well as the non—notified areas (over—exploited, critical and semi—critical areas) without seeking prior permission from CGWA,” the plea said.

“Railways has also failed to comply with the directions of the CGWA issued under the Environment Protection Act, 1986, making it mandatory for all industrial establishments to adopt rooftop rainwater harvesting systems on their premises,” the plea added. (With PTI inputs)

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Printable version | Sep 18, 2021 8:29:29 PM |

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