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February 19, 2014

WB Govt to enact law to prevent misuse of ground water

WB Govt to enact law to prevent misuse of ground water

West Bengal government is planning a move to bring an amendment to a relevant act to prevent misuse of ground water and punishing offenders.

Replying to a question in the Assembly, Water Investigation and Development Minister Soumen Mahapatra said the amendments to West Bengal Ground Water Resources (Management, Control and Regulation) Act, 2005 was ready and was placed before Chief Minister Ms. Mamata Banerjee for clearance.

After clearance, the Bill is likely to be moved during the next session of the Assembly, he said.

Among the measures for making the amendment more stringent, misuse or theft of ground water could even lead to imprisonment, when earlier a fine of Rs 50 to Rs 500 was levied.

With the legislation, the minister hoped that flouting directives on use of deep tube wells would be checked and water management would be strengthened.

It would also reduce misuse of ground water to prevent different bottling plants, cement manufacturing units and realtors from using excess water from underground.

The minister also said that rainwater harvesting would be accorded top priority for clearing plans for new buildings, besides appointment of `Jalbandhu` (persons to keep tab on ground water use) to keep watch against misuse or theft of ground water in the state.

Replying to a supplementary question, Mr Mahapatra said that the number of semi-critical blocks have increased to 38 from only 10 during the erstwhile Left Front regime.

Mr Mahapatra, State Water Investigation Minister, Tuesday told the House that his government is also planning to excavate all water bodies, ponds and lakes in all 144 wards of KMC. The minister said during 2014-15 financial year, his department will take a pilot project to excavate the water bodies.

He said this excavation process will enable the water bodies in all 144 wards to retain more water during the monsoon season and the roads will be less flooded. This move will also save water bodies from encroachment by realtors, the minister said.