CHENNAI: The Union government's order that individuals and households having more than one borewell, or drawing groundwater through a pump more powerful than 2 HP, should get a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Ministry of Jal Shakti will not be applicable in Tamil Nadu, the State government announced on Wednesday.
"The existing rules and regulations for groundwater management and extraction will continue in the State until further notice," it added.
People seeking an NOC as per the Union government's order were required to pay a registration fee of Rs 10,000 and submit applications by September 30. The Centre had warned that people drawing groundwater without permission would be punished severely.
A senior official in the Water Resources Department (WRD) told The New Indian Express some States, including West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, and a few in the Northeast, don't have technical resources for water management, and hence, handed over maintenance of groundwater to the Union government.
"Though the Tamil Nadu Groundwater (Development and Management) Act, 2003 was enacted to prevent exploitation of groundwater, the Central government had influenced groundwater management in Tamil Nadu till 2014. After that, the Act was updated and the State has been functioning separately," the official added.
The Act made an NOC from the Water Resources Department mandatory for construction of buildings for more than six households, the official said. District-wise committees led by the Collector have been formed to enforce the rule though there is no fine for violating it.
As of now, the WRD has proposed a few more rules to conserve groundwater. These rules will be published in the public domain within a week to receive suggestions after getting the State government's approval, the official said.