Court Warns Delhi Metro Of Halting Services Over Groundwater Withdrawal

New Delhi:  The Green Court (National Green Tribunal-NGT) today warned of halting the capital’s metro services as it slammed the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) for not complying with its order on extraction of groundwater without permission.

A bench headed by Green Court Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar took strong exception on the issue of metro stations extracting ground water without due permission.

The green court directed the Environment Ministry, Central Ground Water Authority, DMRC, Delhi Jal Board (DJB) and advocate Kush Sharma, counsel for the applicant, to jointly find out how many stations were withdrawing groundwater without proper permission and sort the approvals.

“Just because you are DMRC doesn’t give you license to extract water without permission. You people sit together and find out how many stations are operating with or without requisite permission…You sort it out, or else we will stop the running of these trains,” the bench observed.

The matter was listed for next hearing on November 17.

DJB had earlier told the tribunal that it has not granted permission to the DMRC for extraction of ground water but the metro company has installed 276 borewells across the national capital for which it has no permission.

The Green Court was hearing a plea filed by Delhi resident Kush Kalra alleging that DMRC was extracting groundwater instead of using waste water to wash its trains, resulting in depletion of the water table.

It had contended that if any individual installed a bore well without permission in his house, the authorities seal it in no time and slap a fine, but the DMRC has installed 276 bore wells right under the nose of authorities but no action has been taken till date.

Referring to a RTI reply, the plea had said DMRC’s water requirement was met through borewells and DJB connection. It also said that in order to draw water from the borewells, 3 to 5 HP pumps were used.

“No bottled water is used, groundwater after treatment as per requirement is used for train washing…Borewells have been provided in the depots from where water is sourced.

“Around 400 to 500 litres of groundwater is used for washing one metro train. The water, after washing of metro train, is sent to Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP). The treated water is then used for gardening and the excess sent to drains,” the RTI reply had revealed.

Another RTI response received from Delhi Jal Board said no permission had been granted to DMRC for digging borewells.

In yet another such response, a list of metro stations that had been granted such permission was provided by the board to the DMRC, the plea had said while referring to the contradiction between the responses.

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