The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has taken exception to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation's (DMRC) use of groundwater for washing of metro trains and directed it to submit details of the permission granted to it for extraction of groundwater.
A bench, comprising Justice U D Salvi and expert-member Ranjan Chatterjee, which had earlier issued notices to DMRC, Delhi Jal Board (DJB) and Delhi Pollution Control Committee, also sought details regarding the use of groundwater by Delhi Metro.
"Respondent No 1 (DMRC) should come out with a clear stand as to the permission regarding extraction of groundwater, its use made and the duration of its use", the bench said.
The order came while hearing a plea filed by Delhi resident Kush Kalra who had alleged that DMRC was extracting groundwater instead of using wastewater to wash its trains resulting in depletion of water table.
Advocate Kush Sharma, appearing for Kalra, said that at a time when water crisis has hit 12,000 villages across Latur in Maharashtra, DMRC is busy shining its trains by "illegal" extraction of groundwater.
The plea had sought directions to DMRC to compensate as per "Polluter Pays Principle" for exploiting the groundwater for washing metro trains without any permission from the requisite authorities.
Referring to a RTI reply, the plea said that DMRC's water requirement is met through borewells and DJB connection. It also said that in order to draw water from the borewell, 3 to 5 HP pump was used.
"No bottled water is used, groundwater after treatment as per requirement is used for train washing...Borewells have been provided in the depots from where water is sourced.
"Around 400 to 500 liters of groundwater is used for washing of one metro train. The water, after washing of metro train, is sent to Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP). The treated water is then used for gardening and excess is sent to drains," the RTI reply had revealed.
Further, another RTI response received from DJB said that no permission had been granted to DMRC for digging the borewells. However, in another response, a list of metro stations that had been granted such permissions was provided to DMRC, the plea said while referring to contradiction between the responses.