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Govt may charge for groundwater use

February 02, 2004 14:48 IST

The government may soon think in terms of charging soft drink companies and others for extracting groundwater and using it for commercial and industrial purposes.

At present, the only charges companies pay for using ground water in soft drinks, bottled water and other products is an insignificant amount called "water cess", which is being levied by the state pollution control boards under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Act, sources said in New Delhi on Monday.

In its presentation before the joint parliamentary committee probing allegations of pesticides in soft drinks, the environment and forests ministry has assured the panel that "in future perhaps the water, if used for commercial and industrial purposes will have to be charged."

While lambasting the government as well as the companies which use water for commercial purposes for their respective lack of sensitivity on the issue, the panel has asked the ministry of water resources to pursue the matter of charging for commercial use of water and regulate its use.

"The committee desire that the water resources ministry must pursue the matter vigourously with the states and impress upon them the need to regulate water, particularly for commercial purposes and also fix the price for water," they added.

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