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Delhi schools, colleges get 60 days to instal water-harvesting systems

Students at Govt. Sarvodaya Vidyallaya Dakshinpuri Extension New Delhi. Picture by Prem Singh

New Delhi, Nov. 16 (PTI): The National Green Tribunal on Thursday directed all schools and colleges here to install rainwater harvesting systems within two months at their own cost, or be liable to pay a fine of Rs 5 lakh.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said any institution that fails to install a rainwater harvesting system within two months may have to pay environment compensation of Rs 5 lakh.

A water harvesting system channels rain that falls on roofs and courtyards into storage tanks after flushing out the water from the first spell, which can be polluted.

The tribunal said it has set up a committee to get schools and colleges inspected and give permission for operating the systems. The committee has senior officials from Delhi’s education department, Delhi Jal Board, Public Works Department, Central Groundwater Authority and others.

If an institution feels it is not physically possible to install a rainwater harvesting system, it should inform the committee, which will then inspect the premises.

”Upon inspection, if it feels that there is no possibility of setting up such system, then the panel may issue exemption certificate,” the bench said.

According to the tribunal, the institution that gets an exemption certificate shall be subject to environment compensation, which will be used for setting up rainwater harvesting systems in possible nearby areas, including parks.

The green panel also directed the education department and the Delhi Jal Board to issue notices to all such schools and colleges within three days from today.

The direction came while disposing of a plea filed by Mahesh Chandra Saxena, who claimed to be associated with a non-government organisation working in groundwater conservation.

He has claimed that government departments, educational institutions and residential societies have either not installed rainwater harvesting systems or have systems that do not function any more.

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