Availability of drinking water first priority: NGT

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Ground water should be supplied for drinking purpose on first priority than industrial usage, said the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in its observation in a case related to indiscriminate extraction of groundwater for commercial use.

The NGT said that what ever the water available in the ground water sources should supplied to drinking water supply on first priority than industries.

Apart from regulating the industries from indiscriminate withdrawal of ground water, the concerned authorities should take steps to shift the industries to alternative places where abandon water is available, the green bench said.

"Availability of water for drinking is the first priority. The 'Precautionary' principle, 'Sustainable Development' principle and the Inter-generational equity are part of life and in absence of replenishment of groundwater, unregulated drawl thereof cannot be held to be right of any commercial entity. Shortage of availability of water for commercial purposes cannot be remedied by withdrawal of groundwater in over exploited, critically exploited and semi-critical exploited (OCS) areas," a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice A K Goel said.

The tribunal made this observation while disposing a plea filed by Association of the Industrial Manufactures seeking impleadment in a petition filed by Ghaziabad resident Shailesh Singh.

The plea had also sought a direction to close industrial units running without the requisite statutory consent under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 and the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.

 "Water is certainly a scarce resource and the industry has to put up with such scarcity. It is for the industry and the concerned authorities to find out alternative ways and means for sustenance of the industries instead of permitting indiscriminate withdrawal of groundwater in such areas till situation improves," the bench observed.

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