84 hotels face fines over groundwater use, Real Estate News, ET RealEstate

July 2, 2023

GHAZIABAD: A three-member committee formed on the orders of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to check illegal groundwater extraction by hotels with lodging facilities has recommended penalties on 84 such establishments in Ghaziabad. The fines, calculated with a five-year retrospective effect, range from Rs 10-50 lakh per hotel.

In 2018, a Ghaziabad resident filed a petition with the NGT, alleging that 122 city-based hotels extracted groundwater without permission. At the time, the NGT acknowledged it as a statewide problem and clubbed the Ghaziabad cases with those from nine other cities in UP. In October 2022, it constituted a three-member committee, asking it to file a report on the matter.

“The committee included a regional CGWA (Central Ground Water Authority) official, a UPPCB (Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board) member, and the DM (district magistrate) or a DM-appointed member. During a due inspection, the committee found 84 hotels in Ghaziabad extracting groundwater illegally, and according to the NGT order, it has recommended fines on such hotels,” said Hari Om, executive engineer at the irrigation department.

The fines amount to Rs 50 lakh per establishment with more than 100 rooms, Rs 25 lakh per establishment with 50-100 rooms, and Rs 10 lakh per establishment with up to 50 rooms.

“This is calculated at the rate of Rs 80 per kilolitre/cubic metre, taking consumption to be 350 litres per room per day, which comes to Rs 10,000 per room per year. For 100 rooms, it will be Rs 10 lakh per year, i.e., Rs 50 lakh for five years. The same applies to other calculations,” said Hari Om.

The NGT is due to hear the case on Monday.

In the past six years, the groundwater table in Ghaziabad city, a notified zone, has depleted by 6.1 m. The situation is as bad in the Loni and Bhojpur blocks of the district, which are in the overexploited category. In Loni, the groundwater level has dropped by 5.5 m since 2016.

In Bhojpur, it has dropped by 2.4 m in the same period. The groundwater level has risen in the district’s remaining two blocks, but Rajapur is still in the overexploited category, while Muradnagar is in the semi-critical category.

Ankita Ray, a hydrologist in the groundwater department, said, “Groundwater extraction and its recharge is key to maintaining equilibrium.

But in Ghaziabad city, a notified area, the extraction is 263.4%, followed by Bhojpur, where extraction is 140.9%. In Loni and Rajapur, the extraction is 132.9% and 110.2%, respectively. Muradnagar is the only block in Ghaziabad district where extraction is less than 100%, at 88.2%.”

  • Published On Jul 2, 2023 at 03:00 PM IST

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