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Law to conserve groundwater on anvil in Uttar Pradesh

Lucknow, May 20 (IANS) The Uttar Pradesh government has decided to bring in a law to regulate exploitation of groundwater across the state after finding that an alarming situation was developing in 40 of the state’s 70 districts, of which Agra and Mathura were said to be ‘grave’.

Unfolding a draft bill at a press conference here Thursday, Chief Secretary Atul Gupta said that as many as 138 blocks in these 40 districts were clearly identified as ‘scarce groundwater areas’.

He however claimed that proper implementation of a plan of action prepared by experts could bail out these districts from the otherwise impending crisis.

Referring to Agra and Mathura, Gupta said that in these two districts, the ‘situation had turned out to be grave primarily because groundwater was almost non-existent there’.

‘What is worse that deeper still beyond 75 metres, the groundwater in Agra is saline and therefore completely non-potable and so is the case with Mathura.’

Asked how the state machinery proposed to tide over that crisis, he said: ‘We have already begun concentrating only on surface water in Agra and for that we are in the process of executing a plan to bring surplus Ganga water from the Tehri dam to be fed into the Yamuna river upstream of Agra.’

The government hopes to get over the crisis in other parts of the state by ensuring strict enforcement of the proposed law.

‘The bill would be given a final shape after we have received suggestions and objections from different cross-sections of society. Once the new law is in place, anyone tapping the ground to meet his commercial requirement of water would be required to insure recharge of the ground water in the same measure, failing which the defaulter would have to bear penalty, which also includes imprisonment,’ Gupta said.

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