There is tremendous anxiety and anger against a borewell which has been installed in Village Satoli, District Nainital. This has been operationalized for commercial purposes under the garb of residential use. The borewell has been dug by one Vipin Chandra Pant, who is a resident of Bhowali (not Satoli). Abstracted water from the borewell is being misused and diverted by builders for construction of high-end Villas in Satoli.
The same builders who are illegally diverting water for commercial use have been in the eye of the storm for encroaching on government land in nearby village Chatola . A PIL has been filed for Chatola against these builders in the Nainital High Court and the Court has sent a notice to them, making it incumbent upon them to respond to the charges levelled against them.
There is a huge groundswell and outcry against the environmental degradation of the Kumaon region. A citizen movement has been launched which is garnering more and more support across villages. Recently permission for a borewell in Sathkol village was denied by the Gram Sabha.
Groundwater abstraction is highly regulated by law given the far-reaching and negative impact it has on the natural springs and aquifers. The Himalayas are a very sensitive environmental zone. There are no distinct water tables beneath the surface. Boring activities in the hills tap into every water channel available which eventually leads to drying up of these water channels. Various studies have revealed that unscientific boring/ground water extraction causes irreparable damage to the ground water table.
Several households in the villages of Satoli, Peora and Diyari will bear the brunt of the water crisis already prevalent in the region, and exacerbated by this borewell. A prominent and reputed NGO, AAROHI, which is headquartered in Satoli runs a school, a hospital and livelihood programmes for the villagers. These programmes related to health, education and women empowerment which have benefited the villagers immensely will be negatively impacted as water sources will be depleted.
The digging of this borewell in Satoli is in complete contravention of law. Due processes have not been followed. It also sets a dangerous precedent.
Letters highlighting this wrong-doing and demanding action from the authorities, have been sent.
The residents are demanding justice against this flagrant violation of the laws of the country and have pledged that they will stay united and continue their fight.