NGT revokes ban on two of 34 firms shut for illegal groundwater use

Two of 34 companies that used to sell bottled water in Noida and Greater Noida till they were closed in February for illegally extricating and selling groundwater,were granted permission

Written by Kamala Kelkar | New Delhi | Published: July 17, 2013 2:33 am

Two of 34 companies that used to sell bottled water in Noida and Greater Noida till they were closed in February for illegally extricating and selling groundwater,were granted permission Tuesday by the National Green Tribunal to reopen.

Counsel for AST Beverages and Khaitan Beverages told the bench the companies affixed water meters and obtained appropriate permits from Uttar Pradesh and the Central Ground Water Authority. Justice Swatanter Kumar asked the applicant,who originally filed a petition in 2012 requesting that the government regulate groundwater exploitation,if he had any objections and then granted permission.

“It is stated that they would not operate in violation of the conditions and the consent or permission granted by these authorities,” Kumar said. “We make it clear…that the remaining 32 industries would not operate.”

However,the main issue still needs addressing,said applicant Vikrant Tongad,a student and environmental activist who is involved in four other cases pending before the NGT.

“We don’t want Noida to dry up,so we have to fight,” Tongad said after the hearing.

He originally filed the petition to stop construction companies using the groundwater supply for their work.

In January,the NGT had issued an order against all construction companies extracting water illegally. But Tongad said the order was not being enforced properly.

He said he plans to argue against parking lots being built underneath parks because the structures will prevent natural groundwater recharge at the next hearing on August 22.

The water bottling factories became a part of Tongad’s case in February when the Environment Pollution Prevention and Control Authority submitted a report to the NGT,ousting the 34 companies.

Lawyers for some of the remaining firms have said they are losing more than Rs 50,000 a day because of the order.

“We hope to get the same permission,too,” said S K Agarwal,counsel for Nimbus Beverages.

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