Well water sale should be stopped: Dr Willy
The government should crack down on those engaged in illegal sale of water from their wells to tanker owners and either tax them heavily or imprison those who are violating the Goa Groundwater Regulation Act, 2003, veteran politician Dr Wilfred de Souza said.
Referring to the Act, Wily said that the water resources department is not acting against any of the offenders. “The limit of extraction of water from a well is 30,000 litres per year. If each tanker has a capacity of 3,000 to 5,000 litres and they are taking a minimum of five to six tankers a day, they will be reaching a year’s limit in one or two days. What will they do for the remaining days of the year and how are they allowed to do it,” Dr de Souza questioned.
Chapter 6 of the Act prevents people from transporting ground water from a source of water in Scheduled area, more than 30,000 litres annually, by any means of surface transport or by pipeline without the permission of the Groundwater Officer. However permission can be given on certain terms and conditions by paying a fee of Rs 20 per 1000 litres that the supplier decides to extract. However most water tankers neither register themselves nor pay the fee on grounds that the fee is too high.
“The WRD is not acting against them. I told Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar that this would be a wonderful opportunity to tax them and raise precious revenue. So many real estate projects are coming up and five star hotels are using water for swimming pools. They get their water from tankers. They should be taxed,” Dr de Souza said.
The Water Resources Department is currently in the process of asking people to register wells more than a decade after the bill became an act and sought that all wells be registered. The Act also has provisions of punishment for illegal sinking/construction and or use of wells and or transportation of water and or polluting and contaminating groundwater.
For the first offence, the fine may extend to Rs 5000 and for the second and subsequent offence, there may be imprisonment for upto six months and or fine which may extend upto Rs 10000, every time. “I don’t think anybody has ever been convicted for breaking this law,” Dr de Souza said adding that he was instrumental in bringing out the law towards the turn of the century but it was never implemented after it was enacted. [H]