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'Water table depleting; but situation not alarming'

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Dec 5: Union Water Resources Minister Saif-ud-din Soz today said a model bill on preserving of water resources had been circulated among various states and barring "one or two" states most had expressed willingness to adopt it.

Replying to supplementaries during Question Hour in the Rajya Sabha, he said as water fell under the purview of states, they had been warned not to overdraw ground water resources and take up rainwater harvesting in earnest.

Admitting that the ground water table in the country was sinking, Prof Soz hastened to add that the situation was "not alarming" as yet.

His Ministry, he said, was conscious of assessing and monitoring water levels in various states.

As Mr Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) persisted in finding the government response regarding overdrawal of ground water as in the case of a multinational company in Kerala, the Minister said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had instituted a ground water advisory committee comprising experts such as M S Swaminathan and Sunita Narain to go into the matter.

"Irrigation must remain in sharp focus. If industry gets more water then it is alarming and cannot be done," he assured the members.


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