The Gautam Budh Nagar groundwater department has flagged 13 establishments, including ongoing construction projects, for flouting guidelines by illegally extracting groundwater, officials said on Monday.
Previously, these identified establishments received notices and a sanction of $5 lakh each was imposed when they failed to obtain a No Objection Certificate (NOC) for using borewells to extract groundwater. However, because they did not comply with the initial notice and did not pay the fine, they were subsequently fined $10 lakh each has been raised.
Ankita Rai, hydrologist at Gautam Budh Nagar groundwater department, said, “We identified 13 establishments illegally extracting groundwater through borewells without required departmental approval. These establishments were reprimanded a month ago and fined $5 lakh each. However, since they did not comply with the notice and did not pay the fines, we have now imposed an additional fine of $10 lakh each.”
“Of the identified offenders, five have paid the fine, while another eight are yet to comply with the notice and pay the penalty. “We are waiting for these defaulters to make the payment, and if they do not, additional actions such as sealing their wells will be considered,” the hydrologist added.
According to information from the groundwater department, all projects, whether residential, commercial, institutional or large-scale, must obtain a No Objection Certificate (NOC) and receive clearance from the groundwater authority.
The hydrologist added: “We will continue to identify these builders in the city and take legal action against them for depleting valuable groundwater resources and not complying with guidelines.”
Following the directives of district magistrate Manish Kumar Verma, the groundwater department last week identified 17 establishments across the district. These establishments had not installed water recharge mechanisms and had violated other groundwater regulations within their respective buildings. As a punitive measure, the Gautam Budh Nagar administration revoked the NOCs they had obtained for groundwater extraction.