Mumbai: MCZMA Directs BMC & Collectors To Investigate Illegal Groundwater Extraction

Mumbai: MCZMA Directs BMC & Collectors To Investigate Illegal Groundwater Extraction

They have also mandated officials to take corrective action against any violations of the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification 1991.

SHEFALI PARAB-PANDITUpdated: Friday, February 16, 2024, 02:39 AM IST
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Mumbai: MCZMA Directs BMC & Collectors To Investigate Illegal Groundwater Extraction | Representational Image

The Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) has directed the BMC and Mumbai suburban collectors to investigate the reported illegal extraction of groundwater for basement construction in the city. They have also mandated officials to take corrective action against any violations of the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification 1991.

Activist's complaint

Acting on the complaint filed by the environmental activist Zoru Bhathena, the MCZMA sent a letter to BMC and the collector’s office on Wednesday. In his letter to MCZMA in January, Bhathena said, “It is observed that huge amounts of groundwater are pumped out of the ground, sucking the natural water table dry to construct basements in thousands of ongoing construction sites all over Mumbai. It was observed that there was a sudden fall in the natural groundwater table in the CRZ area of Juhu. The groundwater had fallen to May-month low-levels in January only. On making further enquiries, it was found that groundwater levels throughout Mumbai had fallen drastically. Indicating an impending water crisis for the city.”

He alleged that huge quantities of groundwater are being extracted daily and are being dumped into the storm for the construction of a two-level basement on one plot at Juhu Tara Road adjoining Juhu beach, where drawal of groundwater is a prohibited activity in CRZ areas. The dewatering of this plot has been ongoing since October 2023.

Bhathena questioned, “Can MCZMA permit basement construction knowing full well that it can only be constructed by breaching the CRZ Regulations which prohibits the drawal of groundwater? Can private builders suck Mumbai's groundwater dry in this fashion? The issue is not about one plot at Juhu. This is a Mumbai-wide crisis.”

MCZMA has asked the BMC to verify the allegations made by Bhathena and take necessary action if any violation is observed and send the detailed action taken report at the earliest.

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