THE CENTRAL Groundwater Authority (CGWA) has asked industries in Punjab to take no objection certificate (NoC) for the already existing tubewells inside industrial units. Besides, big industrial units have been asked to recharge double the water used by them and even adopt two villages each to provide clean drinking water. Though many industrialists have started filling forms, some have raised objection with the department over why only industry was being asked to follow norms while farmers, who use water much more than industry, were being spared. Talking about the CGWA norms, Gurmeet Singh Kular, president of Federation of
Industrial and Commercial Organization (FICO), said, “All the small units having individual tubewells are to take NoC while units using water ranging from 1 lakh litres to 5 lakh litres per day with factory size of less than 5 hectare need to recharge double the water used apart from NoC and industrial units which use water more than 5 lakh litres a day and the size of factory is also more than 5 hectares need to adopt two villages, install ROs to ensure clean drinking water for villagers.”
Although the last date for seeking NoC is July 13, industrialists have already sent nearly 500 applications to the Chandigarh office of CGWA. Besides, many others have expressed reservation against the recent instructions. As stated by Avtar Singh, president of Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU), “No CICU member has sent applications for seeking NoC or for other responsibilities as stated by the groundwater authority of India. We do understand the importance of saving water and falling water level, but why is industry the target always. Farmers use four times more water than industry especially in paddy season, but they are not being asked to recharge water or seek NoCs for tubewells whereas industry is always the soft target.” He added, “We have filed a petition before the department and we hope to get a positive result. Till then, we have no plans to submit any applications.”
Though Kular has sent a few hundred applications of FICO members to the concerned department seeking NoC so far, he said, “First of all, water-intensive units should have been targeted i.e. dyeing units and even smaller units should have been exempted from this permission. However, everyone has been included. This is not fair.” Meanwhile, nearly 6,000 industrial units in Ludhiana have their own tubewells. Incidentally, clean drinking water comes only after digging of 360-400 feet and this is a cause of concern for CGWA as the water level is falling every year due to excessive use.