BENGALURU: A water bottling plant, which has been allegedly running illegally in the safe zone of the Bannerghatta National Park (BNP) for the past three years, is extracting borewell water in Ragihalli, the area that cries for water.
The activists alleged that the plant is running without obtaining groundwater clearance from the departments concerned. One of the activists working in the area, who wished not to be identified, said that when water is brought to Ragihalli village from Ramanaikana Doddi, which is 1.5 km away, such exploitation of groundwater in the village is appalling.
In 2015, the forest department, Bannerghatta zone, wrote to the Ragihalli panchayat, asking whether permission had been given to the industry to operate. “Yes, we did ask them and we directed the panchayat not to give permission. We had objected because the plant is operating in the safe zone of the national park. We have not received any response from the panchayat,” said R. Suresh, DCF, BNP.
He said that the department will again send a reminder to the panchayat and will take up the matter with senior authorities. Tree Doctor Vijay Nishanth, who is on a mission to restore the sanctity of the BNP and highlighting recent illegal quarrying in the eco-sensitive zone, said, “The functioning of a resort and illegal bottling unit shows that a lot of wrongs are taking place in the forest area. This has to stop. How can an industry run in an area deprived of water without obtaining necessary permissions?”
Lead scientist, Indian Institute of Science, Dr T.V. Ramachandra, said that the said region is water starved and nothing can be more disastrous than setting up a water bottling unit. “The region is deprived of water due to rampant sand filtering and if groundwater is exploited in such a manner, how will people quench their thirst? No groundwater recharge takes place in the region. This industry should go,” he said.
Overexploitation of groundwater using borewells in the city has been widely acknowledged by the department of mines. The union ministry of water resources in its 2017 report stated that Karnataka has exploited 705 of its groundwater resources.
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