The National Green Tribunal has said that illegal withdrawal of groundwater by hotels cannot be permitted if the environment has to be protected and scarce resources saved for future generations.
Voicing concern over illegal water extraction, a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said authorities must ensure that as per the May 18, 2010 notification issued by the Lt Governor "no person, group, authority, association, institution" should withdraw groundwater through borewell or tube-well without permission of Central Ground Water Authority.
"The illegal drawing of groundwater by hotels for their commercial interest is not something which can be permitted if the environment has to be protected and scarce resources are to be saved on the principle of intergenerational equity," the bench, also comprising Justices Jawad Rahim and R S Rathore, said.
The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by city resident Shailesh Singh seeking directions to immediately stop withdrawal of groundwater by five-star hotels without permission.
The green panel noted that for want of one or the other information proceedings could not be completed so far in the case and asked lawyers appearing in the case to cooperate in deciding the issue and not put forward the plea of "personal convenience or non-availability".
The tribunal had earlier issued notices to three five-star hotels, Central Ground Water Authority, Delhi Jal Board, New Delhi Municipal Council, Central Pollution Control Board.
Singh had alleged that various five-star hotels including Hotel Taj Palace, The Leela Palace, Hotel Jaypee Vasant Continental were using several lakh litres of groundwater and the sources of water are not visible in their premises.
The plea had alleged that according to the Delhi Pollution Control Committee, one of the hotels was extracting 2,22,600 litres of water from supply and is having two bore-wells to extract groundwater.
Earlier, the tribunal had imposed a fine of Rs 7.5 lakh on one of the hotels after it found unsatisfactory rainwater harvesting systems in their premises.