"It is... brought to our notice that because of the construction being undertaken by Delhi Metro, the water bodies near Lal Qila have been damaged and the work is carried out unauthorisedly," said a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar.
"Let the counsel appearing for DMRC respond to this aspect by filing an affidavit before the tribunal within three weeks," it said. The matter is listed for next hearing on October 28.
DMRC is constructing an underground metro station near the monument as part of the Central Secretariat-Kashmere Gate line extension. The tribunal was hearing a plea by Vikrant Kumar Tongad seeking directions for installation of "proper rainwater harvesting system" on all its existing as well as proposed and under-construction stations, tracks and depots.
During the hearing, Tongad informed the tribunal that the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) has written to DMRC in this regard, stating that continuous dewatering was being done by DMRC, which has affected the underground water level.
"Heavy dewatering is going to impact groundwater seriously. Entire NCT Delhi is notified for groundwater development point and DMRC should have undertaken comprehensive groundwater impact studies and obtained prior clearance before the commencement of dewatering," the CGWB letter said.
Dewatering is the removal of water from solid material or soil by wet classification, centrifugation, filtration, or similar solid-liquid separation.