Hoshiarpur: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) have passed the judgement regarding the petition filed by the Safal Bharat Guru Parampra. The NGT have issued various guidelines to the Punjab Government for disbursing free electricity to the farmers for irrigation.
Notably, President of Safal Bharat Guru Parampra, PK Rana filed a petition in the NGT in January 2014 seeking the measures from Punjab Government to preserve underground water. He demanded ban on plantation of Eucalyptus trees and ban on free electricity to the farmers.
The detailed judgement is specified below:
- The grant of tube well connections shall be subject to the restriction regarding the use of electricity and hours as to be specifically notified by the State Govt of Punjab.
- On grant of tube well connections by electricity, no farmers in the State of Punjab availing the facility shall be permitted to use diesel generator sets for drawing underground water. In case it is brought to the notice of the Government either by the applicant or by any other source about the use of generator sets by such farmers, the authority concerned shall forthwith take appropriate actions in accordance with law and also impose payment of amount under the principle of “Polluter Pays” at the rate of Rs. 5000 per day for each of the diesel set used. However, the farmers, who do not come under the gamut of the “free electricity policy” are free to use diesel or any other generators but strictly as per the norms prescribed by the CPCB and/or PSPCB for the purpose.
- The Government shall strictly implement the provisions of the Punjab Preservation of Sub-Soil Water Act 2009 and notifications issued thereunder from time to time strictly and shall take appropriate action under section 5 and 6 in cases of violation.
- The above directions shall apply not only to the new connections to be issued form among 1.25 lakh of applications but also in respect of the existing tube well connections through electricity throughout the State of Punjab.
- The State Government shall make necessary notification regarding the restriction of power supply to the tube well connections along with the timings and eligible criteria for the beneficiaries in clear terms within a period of 30 days from the date of this order. After such notification the same shall be effectively implemented and it will be open to any one of the public including the applicant to bring any violations committed to the notice of the Government, in which event the authority concerned shall take immediate action. The affected party or any one among the public including the applicant can always move this Tribunal by filing fresh application. The State Government shall ensure that the water drawn with the pumps using free electric supply is not misused for any other purpose like industrial activity, building construction, water packaging and other commercial activities and in the event of such violations, the Government shall take all appropriate actions against the violator/s in the manner known to law.
- The Government shall notify the categories of areas as critical, over-exploited, exploited, safe etc., in the State of Punjab regarding the ground water level and impose restrictions regarding the use of ground water for agriculture and other purposes within a period of 30 days from the date of this order. We make it clear that in water abundant or safe areas the Government may permit growth of eucalyptus and under Crops Diversification Programme (CDP) subject to various conditions and restrictions as it may deem fit.
- The Government shall ensure the drinking water supply to the people of the State without being affected by any contamination either by the growth of crop patterns etc., especially arresting the arsenic compounds beyond permissible limit due to the raising of rice crops.
- The State Government shall take all proactive measures in advising the farmers to take steps on Rain Water Harvesting/ Recharge.
- The State Government shall take steps to promote Resource Conservation Technology (RCT) by implementing various well established scientific techniques.
- The State Government shall also take all earnest steps to implement the Limited Rotational Power Supply in the State which is the very object of the Punjab Preservation of Sub-Soil Act 2009.