April 04, 2023
Noida: UPPCB imposes Rs 76.5 crore fine on 38 builders for illegal groundwater extraction
NOIDA: For illegally drawing groundwater from borewells, 38 builders were fined a total of Rs. 76.5 crore by the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB). During 15 days, the builders must deposit the money.
According to officials, the board fined the Gaur City 2 project the maximum amount of Rs 6.6 crore and the Gaur City 1 project a maximum of Rs 4 crore. The Galaxy Blue Sapphire and Ace Divino projects are closely behind with fines of Rs 3.6 crore and Rs 3.3 crore, respectively. Ajnara Homes, Apex Golf Avenue, and Ajnara Le Garden will also pay fines of Rs. 1.8 crore, Rs. 1.1 crore, and Rs. 1 crore, respectively.
In July 2022, in response to a petition from two environmentalists alleging that 63 residential projects in Greater Noida and Greater Noida West were illegally extracting groundwater, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) established a district-level joint committee made up of the district magistrate and representatives from the state and central pollution control boards.
The committee conducted a two-phase screening of all the projects and discovered borewells at 41 of them. Among these 41 projects, only three were permitted to use groundwater; the other 38 were not.
The UPPCB then addressed letters to 38 builders requesting that they contribute 0.5% of the project cost as environmental compensation, but they never heard back. The board has thus sent notifications to 38 builders this month instructing them to pay a Rs 76.5 crore fine within 15 days.
"We have already notified the builders of the penalties we have imposed. Within 15 days of receiving the notice, they must pay the fine "said Radhe Shyam, regional officer for the UPPCB.
The UPPCB also submitted an action-taken report with the NGT, informing it of the penalties levied on the builders, during a hearing in the case on May 15. In July, the case's next hearing will take place.
Additionally, the UPPCB has taken legal action against 29 projects under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act of 1974, and the builders involved have been given show-cause notices.