statesman news service
BEHRAMPORE, 1 JUNE: Unauthorised use of underground water for commercial purpose has allegedly led to the crisis in drinking water in residential areas of Behrampore, Murshidabad. 
In a mass petition filed by residents of Vivekananda Pally adjoining Behrampore municipality, it has been alleged that gallons of groundwater are being extracted daily with submersible pumps installed without permission from proper authorities, like local administration, or specialised government agencies like State Water Investigation Department (SWID). 
Groundwater levels are going down fast because unauthorised water treatment plants set up by private individuals are using the underground water instead of surface water, Mrs Krishna Chowdhury, a petitioner said.
Another complainant, Mrs Smritikana Ghosh said with depleting levels of groundwater owing to unauthorised exploitation, the domestic pump machines are losing the capacity to extract water and fill up the water tanks. Such pumps are now either failing to meet the requirement or developing snags for overuse as they are being kept on for longer duration than before, Mrs Ghosh said.
The petition seeking relief from scarcity of water and immediate closure of commercial plants was submitted to SWID officials yesterday.
In the last couple of years, no one within residential areas was granted permission for installing submersible pumps, stated SWID officils at Behrampore.
The petitioners took up the matter with the local Gram Panchayat Pradhan of Bhakuri-I GP at Behrampore. 
The GP officials visited one plant, Jagatbandhu Aqua Care at Vivekananda Pally, and verbally ordered its owner to close down the plant.
But the owner, Mr Dhrubaranjan Saha refused to oblige the Panchayat authorities by saying: “The Panchayat has issued me a trade license for selling filtered water. Moreover, there are at least 20 bottling plants operating in
and around Behrampore. Some people are campaigning against me out of personal grudge. If the administration is so keen to restrict use of ground water, action should be taken against all the plants mining underground water,”
he said. 
Mr Krishnendu Kumar Mondal, the BDO of Behrampore, said: “Apart
from the trade licence, one needs permission specifically to install submersible pump from Panchayat or Municipal authorities.”