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Groundwater of residential complexes in Ankaleshwar turns yellow: NGO demands action from Central authorities

By Our Representative
A South Gujarat-based environmental NGO, Prakruti Suraksha Mandal (PSM), has raised the alarm that a large number of illegal borewells have come up in and around industrial estates of Bharuch district, sharply reducing groundwater levels and polluting the water.
PSM director Salim Patel, in a letter to senior officials of the Central Groundwater Authority (CGA), Government of India, and Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB), has said that at several places industrial units have been found to be illegally releasing untreated water underground. And, even after repeated complaints, GPCB has not taken any action against industrial units.
Patel said, the information it received under the Right to Information (RTI) Act revealed that just 67 units of the Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) estate in Ankaleshwar have taken permission from the authorities for constructing borewells. 
Clearly, there are many more units which have constructed borewells illegally, he asserts, adding, there is a serious concern that groundwater is turning increasingly toxic, and its levels have been going down.
The letter states, things have become worse, as enough water is not being released from the Sardar Sarovar dam into the Narmada river, and lately “the release of water in the riverbed has become negligible. The soil has become increasingly salinity because of sea water ingress. Things have become worse because of a sharp deceleration in the rainfall over the last few years.
The letter further says, the construction of the cement concrete built jungle on two sides of the river has further deteriorated the situation. 
The colour of groundwater has gone yellow, especially in several of the residential complexes of Ankleshwar town, including ​​Shankram Complex, Shubham Residency, Judge Niwas, Jalaram Wood, Tirth Nagar, the newly constructed Signature Gallery Complex, Rajpipla Road, Vinayak Society and Shrinath Row House.
There have also been reports of polluted red water coming out of the borewell of the Ramnagar area of ​​Barkol village in Ankleshwar taluka, the letter continues, adding, the number of patients reaching hospital with serious illness, including cancer, has considerably gone up. 
Demanding strict action against those polluting groundwater, it adds, groundwater is natural and national wealth. Excessive exploitation of of groundwater should be properly monitored the Central Groundwater Authority and its counterpart in Gujarat.

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