Groundwater extraction: Madras High Court directs Tamil Nadu not to grant licenses for commercial use

The judge directed the State authorities not to grant licence, NOC, or permission to extract groundwater for commercial usage in the absence of fixation of water flow meter on the board outlet.

Published: 04th October 2018 04:54 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th October 2018 07:54 AM   |  A+A-

Madras High Court

Madras High Court (File Photo | PTI)

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: The orders dated July 23, 2014, and 2017 of the State government imposing certain restrictions on extraction of groundwater for commercial purposes by establishments were upheld by the Madras High Court on Wednesday.

Justice S M Subramanian passed the order while disposing of a batch of writ petitions from Santhi Aqua Farms at Anakaputhur and 74 others challenging the 2014 and 2017 orders. Petitioners contended that the entire GO had no statutory backing and could not run contrary to the guidelines issued by the Central Ground Water Authority.

Holding that water and other natural resources are national assets and the State was the custodian and in possession of all such assets, including water, the judge directed the State authorities concerned not to grant licence, no objection certificate (NOC) or permission for commercial establishments/persons to extract groundwater for commercial usage in the absence of fixation of water flow meter on the board outlet, which is to be inspected.

The authorities should inspect the functional quality and other established standards of the flow meters. At the time of granting permission/NOC, the flow meter should be sealed properly by PWD officials to prevent any tampering. The quantum of water to be extracted is to be fixed periodically as per the assessment to be made by PWD authorities as per regulations. The authorities should measure the quantum of water extracted by the establishments/persons by taking meter reading every month. They should follow all other terms and conditions fixed for grant of licence/permission for extraction of groundwater for commercial usage as per the guidelines issued in the 2014 GO.

The judge also directed the authorities to file police complaints in the event of identifying any excess extraction of groundwater by tampering the flow meters sealed or by any other means. Cases must be registered under Section 379 (Punishment for theft) IPC.

In addition, if the water is wasted, for causing wrongful loss, Section 425 (Mischief) IPC should also be included. The licences should be suspended after issuing show cause notices and by providing an opportunity to the persons, who had involved in theft or violation of all other conditions stipulated in the government regulations, or if a criminal case is registered.

The district Collectors should issue suitable directions/orders to Revenue Divisional Officer, Tahsildars and all other officials to inspect and monitor the extraction of groundwater by the persons for commercial usage, the judge said.


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  • Selvin Albertraj

    There are thousands of ground water extraction plants in Ambattur and its surroundings who illegally drill borewells for water extraction for distilled water
    3 years ago reply
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