September 22, 2018 2:00:40 am
Rejecting the Punjab government’s latest status report on steps being taken for preservation of groundwater in the state, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the director of the local government department to appear in person on October 23, the next date of hearing.
The division bench of Chief Justice Krishna Murari and Justice Arun Palli, in an order passed on Wednesday, said that the latest report submitted by the government is “totally unsatisfactory” as it does not explain anything.
“We are not inclined to accept this status-report and the same stands rejected. Three weeks’ time is allowed to file a comprehensive and detailed status-report,” the order read.
The division bench, in fact, had observed that the officials were actually trying to deceive the court with such reports. The bench was hearing a case, filed by advocate Hari Chand Arora, related to misuse of groundwater for construction purposes in the state.
The High Court, in 2013, had issued directions to the government to ensure that that only surface or treated water is used for construction works in the state.
Commenting on the status report, the division bench said that while in certain districts like Kapurthala, Fatehgarh Sahib, Patiala, Mansa, Moga, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Tarn Taran, Ropar and Sangrur, treated water is being used for construction purposes, in others, it has been stated that water drawn out from bore/tube well is being used.
“However, there are no details as to when this data was collected or the report was submitted when. Further, nothing is clear from perusal of Annexure R/2,” the order read.
The case in the High Court has been going on since 2013 and originally was for the purpose of enforcement of various notifications issued by the Central Ground Water Board for the purpose of preserving the ground water resources in the state.
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