CHENNAI: Observing that the State faces water scarcity, the Madras High Court has directed the government to file a detailed report within three weeks on action taken against illegal water bottling units that are depleting groundwater resources.
The issue pertains to a PIL moved by a Thanjavur resident seeking the court to direct authorities to initiate action against bottling units tapping groundwater illegally. The petitioner said at least 30-40 units are operating illegally. Despite several representations, nothing was done and hence the PIL.
The first bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy observed, “ It is inconceivable that any unit functions to manufacture bottle water without obtaining licence from local authorities to exploit groundwater reserves. Rules are in place prohibiting private persons from sinking pipes to obtain water.”
Keep close watch
The bench also said, “ Considering scarcity of water in this State, it is imperative that the government keeps a close watch, particularly on bottling plants seeking to supply water or drinking water.”