New Delhi, July 13 | As many as 19,661 illegal borewells have been identified in the national capital, out of which over 7,248 have been sealed and the rest will be shuttered in three months, the Delhi Pollution Control Board told the National Green Tribunal on Monday.
Out of the eleven districts, North-West has 8,299 borewells, highest in the capital city. It is followed by 6,681 in South-West and 2,185 in Western Delhi. North-East district has no illegal borewell.
In 2019, the Delhi Jal Board was tasked with the responsibility to prepare a list of illegal borewells in the national capital. The Revenue Department was asked to supervise their closure and pollution board was directed to impose external development charges on violaters.
The Delhi Pollution Control Board filed an action taken report on a petition filed by city resident Abdul Farukh in NGT seeking remedial action against illegal extraction of water by private tankers for sale by installing unauthorized tubewells.
“Revenue Authorities have informed that action has been taken on 7,248 units out of 19,661 illegal borewells identified by Delhi Jal Board,” DPCC’s B.L. Chawla, senior environmental engineer, stated in the report.
The report further stated that the rest of the borewells could not be closed due to the coronavirus crisis. “The remaining borewells will be closed on priority,” it added.
Delhi government’s Department of Environment has also issued standard operating procedures to regulate the extraction of groundwater in the city.
According to the guidelines, drawing groundwater through borewell for domestic, commercial, agricultural or industrial uses without the prior permission of the competent authority will be considered illegal.
An advisory committee has been constituted in each of the revenue districts with representatives from Jal Board, Central Ground Water Board, Urban Local Bodies, Delhi Pollution Control Board and reputed NGO to assist the District Commissioner in detecting illegal borewells.
In case an illegal borewell is already constructed and operating, it will be closed and its electricity supply will be disconnected. If the borewell is under construction, then the drilling rig will be sealed.
In November 2019, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee had told the tribunal that 52 teams were formed for sealing illegal borewells.