Skip to main content

New groundwater guidelines "lack" measuring and monitoring mechanism, are "open to abuse" by Indian industry

By Our Representative
The India Resource Centre (IRC), which claims to have run a running campaign against the Coca Cola’s expansion plans for its bottling plant in Mehdigunj, Varanasi, for seeking to use groundwater in an area which was declared overexploited believes that the Government of India’s new guidelines for industrial use of groundwater in water stressed does have any “measuring and monitoring mechanisms for groundwater recharge, and the guidelines are open to abuse by industries.”
Seeking “a rigid measuring and monitoring system” to be articulated and implemented, the IRC, a Global Resistance project, in a statement has said, this shortcoming in the new guidelines is despite the fact that the “quantum of groundwater permitted” to industries has been made “contingent upon the amount of groundwater recharged by the industry.”
The new guidelines, brought by the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) – the national groundwater regulatory agency – become effective on November 16, 2015. Despite this, the IRC believes, they are significant step forward “because they will apply to industries using groundwater regardless of when the industry was established.”
Pointing out that the one of the key demands has been “fulfilled”, which is to “hold beverage companies accountable for excessive and unsustainable groundwater usage across India” – something for which it has been campaigning for long – the IRC said along with its allies it had succeeded in getting Coca-Cola’s plans for expansion of its bottling plant in Mehdiganj, Varanasi rejected in August 2014.
“The older CGWA guidelines”, IRC said, “prohibited bottling operations in areas where the groundwater was declared as over-exploited – but only for new and expansion projects (defined as those after November 15, 2012, the date of the last guidelines).”
“Campaigns across India challenging unsustainable use of groundwater by industries that were established prior to November 15, 2012 were frustrated by the lack of tangible regulations that could be used to end the blatant abuse of groundwater resources, particularly in severely water stressed areas declared as over-exploited by the government”, the IRC said. 
 
It added, “Of particular note is Coca-Cola’s egregious bottling operation in Kala Dera in Jaipur since 2000 where the groundwater was declared over-exploited in 1998 and Coca Cola continues to mine groundwater even today despite the devastating consequences.”
“The latest guidelines could put an end to the excessive and destructive groundwater usage by industries that were ‘grandfathered in’ under the last guidelines”, the IRC said.
Under the new guidelines, all industries that use groundwater and do not have approval from the Central Ground Water Authority now have to apply to the CGWA to obtain a No Objection Certificate (NOC) for groundwater withdrawal “with immediate effect”.
The new guidelines also have a separate category for water intensive industries which includes more stringent regulations for groundwater usage by industries such as soft drinks, bottled water, breweries, distilleries, paper & pulp, fertilizers and others, and prohibit extraction of groundwater by such industries in over-exploited areas.
“The stricter regulations for water intensive industries are the result of various community-led campaigns across India against companies such as Coca-Cola and Pepsico which have highlighted the unsustainable mining of groundwater in water stressed areas and sought restrictions”, IRC said.
However, it added, “The new guidelines are a significant step forward but a lot depends on whether the CGWA will apply the guidelines in letter and spirit for existing industries in water stressed areas, particularly over-exploited areas. It is time for the government to stop water intensive industrial operations in over-exploited areas, as communities across India have been demanding for years. The new guidelines allow for such action immediately.”
“Given our experience, we cannot expect that the government will take action on its own, it will have to be pushed. But we now have a much better, legally tenable path available to us, thanks largely to the community driven movements across the country that has moved the CGWA and the Ministry of Water Resources to bring in stronger guidelines applicable to all industries that mine groundwater”, it said.
Groundwater is a state subject in India, and the CGWA guidelines are applicable only to states that do not have well developed groundwater governance regimes.

Comments

TRENDING

Noam Chomsky, top scholars ask NRIs to take stand on human rights violations in India

Counterview Desk
Renowned world scholars, including Noam Chomsky, James Petras, Angela Davis, Fredric Jameson, Bruno Latour, Ilan Pappe, Judith Butler, among others, have issued a statement castigating the Narendra Modi government for allegedly creating an environment of fear through arrests, intimidation and violence.

Actionable programme for 2019 polls amidst lynch mobs, caste violence, hate mongering

Counterview Desk
Reclaiming the Republic, a civil rights network, has released a document prepared under the chairmanship of Justice AP Shah (retired) -- and backed, among others, by Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan, bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander, economist Prabhat Patnaik, Right to transparency activist Anjali Bhardwaj and social scientist Yogendra Yadav  (click HERE for full list) -- with the "aim" of putting forth policy and legislative reforms needed to “protect” and “strengthen” the Constitutional safeguards for India’s democratic polity.

Call to support IIM-Bangalore professor, censured for seeking action against Uniliver

Counterview Desk
Sections of the Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) across India have strongly reacted to the decision to censure Dr Deepak Malghan, a faulty at IIM-Bangalore. Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil, who is faculty at IIM-Tiruchirapalli, has sought wider solidarity with Dr Malghan, saying, "The administration has censured Deepak for merely suggesting a meaningful action against Hindustan Unilever for their abysmal environmental record" by “disinviting” it for campus placement.

India under Modi "promoted" crony business, protected financial fraudsters, fueled bigotry

By Sandeep* and Rahul Pandey**
Narendra Modi's ascension to power was accompanied with jubilation and expectation. His supporters were expecting an end to era of corruption and initiation of good governance which was described as Achche Din. His party's adherence to idea of nationalism was believed to make India a vibrant country and guide India to be a world leader. He gave the slogan of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas' conveying that his government was for all.
Corruption The government system is infested with corruption. A minimum of 10% is siphoned off from government schemes and projects, some of which goes back to political party in power and remaining is pocketed by various administrative, executive and political functionaries. This corruption continues and has increased. Now an additional Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) person working as Official on Special Duty or some equivalent position in every government department also has a share in this booty.
The Narendra M…

Inviting Rajapaksa to India "insult" to 1,40,000 Tamils killed by Sri Lankan army

Counterview Desk
In the context of Sri Lankan opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa being invited in India, about 75 human rights activists*, claiming to be concerned about rights violations during the civil war in Sri Lanka, especially in 2009, have joined together to express their dissent through a statement.

Post-advisory, Govt of India appears reluctant to ban e-cigarettes, "harmful" to kids

By Rajiv Shah
Is the Government of India dilly-dallying over the issue of banning e-cigarettes, which have been declared by anti-tobacco activists across the world as providing “an entryway to nicotine addiction”, especially among the kids? It would seem so, if the latest developments are any guide.

A Godse legacy? BJP rulers have "refrained" from calling Gandhi Father of the Nation

By Dr Hari Desai*
What an agony! On one hand, the entire India is celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but on the other side, so-called Hindu Mahasabha members have been found mock-enacting the killing of the Mahatma and celebrating the murder by distributing sweets!

No aadhaar, no ration? Hard blow by Gujarat govt on poor and marginalized

By Pankti Jog*
Only those who have aadhaar registration and linked it with ration card will get ration from a Public Distribution System (PDS) shop. This decision of the Gujarat government has hit very badly thousands of poor and marginalized communities of Gujarat, especially during the drought year.

World Bank needs a new perspective on development, not just a new president

By Maju Varghese*
The resignation of the World Bank President Jim Yong Kim was an unexpected development given the fact that he had three more years to complete his tenure. Resignations at such a high level after bidding for a second term is unusual which prompts people to think what would have led to the act itself.

Not just Indian women engineers, men too face sexual harassment at workplace: US study

By Rajiv Shah
A recent research, carried out jointly by two US-based non-profit organizations, Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and Center for WorkLife Law (WLL), based at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, has found that 45% of women engineers as against 28% of men engineers complained that it was perceived as “inappropriate when women argued at work, even when it was work-related.”