September 17, 2021 7:33:38 am
Punjab is set to start levying charges for the usage of underground water by industry and commercial units, with the state government now giving its nod for the same to the Punjab Water Regulation and Development Authority (PWRDA).
The decision, however, is likely to pave the way for the setting up of new units and expansion of existing industries in over-exploited zones. Earlier, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had barred all new units, using water for production, from being set up in the ‘dark zones’.
By levying groundwater charges, the authorities expect to generate funds to the tune of Rs 1.75 crore to Rs 2 crore every month, which can then be used by the PWRDA for the recharge of groundwater.
Punjab Water Regulation and Development Authority, secretary, Arunjit Singh Miglani, said, “We have got the approval from the government. We will soon be notifying the groundwater charges.”
Though a set of government functionaries were not in favour of levying groundwater charges in the election year, Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, however, went ahead and gave his approval for the move. The state expects that the step will help it ine attracting new industry and expansion of the existing ones.
Users extracting groundwater less than 300 cubic meters per month will not be required to pay any groundwater extraction charges. Those using 300 to 1500 cubic metres per month will pay Rs 4 per cubic metre in the green zone, those in yellow and those orange zones will pay Rs 6 and Rs 8 per cubic metre, respectively.
Likewise, industries extracting groundwater between 1500 cubic metre to 15,000 cubic metre will pay Rs 6, Rs 9, and Rs 12 in green, yellow and orange zones, respectively.
Those extracting water between 15,000 to 75,000 cubic metre will have to pay at the rate of Rs 10, Rs 14 and Rs 18 in green, yellow and orange zones, respectively.
The industries using more than 75,000 cubic meters will have to pay Rs 14, Rs 18 and Rs 22 in green, yellow and orange zones, respectively.
The authority has provided a provision for a rebate, in case the industries undertake water conservation. Each cubic meter of water conserved will earn one water conservation credit which will entitle the unit to a rebate of Rs 2.50. However, this rebate will be available to a unit only up to the upper limit. To get the maximum rebate, a unit (using 300-1500 cubic metre) will have to conserve 50 per cent water in the green zone, 100 per cent in the yellow zone and 150 per cent in the orange zone.
Users in the domestic sector will not have to pay any charges. Shopkeepers and religious places will also be exempted. There would be no charges on agriculture usage, as well.
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