Taking note of the exploitation of groundwater in Whitefield and surrounding areas by drilling illegal borewells, the Groundwater Directorate has, for the first time, directed district-level officials to take immediate action against offenders and report to the authorities the actions initiated.
The order, passed by the Director of Groundwater Directorate, following a complaint by the Whitefield ward committee on rampant drilling of illegal borewells, said: “Cracking down on illegal drilling of borewells is a matter of priority. Hence, action should be initiated against the offenders, according to the Karnataka Groundwater (Regulation and Control of Development and Management) Act, 2011, and the action taken should be reported to us immediately.”
However, sources said that a severe staff crunch could only mean that the action would be restricted to the particular case.
“The department has only two officials in the Bengaluru jurisdiction and that makes it impossible to identify all the illegal borewells that have already come up. The most we can do is to act on complaints filed with the authorities,” one of the senior officials said.
Minister’s post on X
Following a wide discussion of the issue on various social media platforms, Minister for Minor Irrigation NS Boseraju said on X (formerly Twitter) that the authorities have taken note of it. “We have heard you and we have acted immediately. We will take swift action,” he posted. He urged the public to write to the ministry firstname.lastname@example.org to help the officials initiate action.
While the department promised to take action against the new illegal borewells coming up in the area, activists opined that it could only be a temporary solution and there is a need to conduct inspections across the city.
“They have been ignorant to the rampant misuse of groundwater all this while. Instead of just acting on a particular case, there is a need to conduct a building-to-building inspection, especially of commercial buildings, since they are misusing groundwater for commercial purposes.
“They should keep a close watch on construction sites and work closely with the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB), which already has teams on the ground,” said Sandeep Anirudhan, a civic activist from Whitefield.
Rains made it worse
The groundwater levels in the city have plunged owing to poor rains, and overuse of groundwater for unauthorised purposes has only added to the problem.
DHhad, in August, reported that the groundwater levels had gone down by an average of seven meters in four of the five taluks in Bengaluru Urban district, as compared to last year.
(Published 08 November 2023, 22:44 IST)