New Delhi: In an indication that the country, especially the northern parts, could face further crisis of drinking water, the Drinking Water and Sanitation Department of Ministry of Rural Development has said that the level of groundwater contamination across north Indian states is on a rise.

Expressing its incapability to deal with groundwater contamination due to lack of the legal mandate, the department has blamed the ministries of Agriculture and Industries for it.

The Drinking Water and Sanitation Department has put the various facets of the issue very clearly before the Standing Committee of the Parliament, which is discussing the increasing level of ground water contamination.

The Committee has expressed its displeasure over the increasing level of groundwater contamination in Malwa region of Punjab.

The department in its report has highlighted that while permission to dig lakhs of tubewells, including deep borewells, in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh have been given by the Ministry of Agriculture,  license to exploit groundwater have been issued frequently by the Ministry of Industry.

The department also recalled that the responsibility to maintain quality of groundwater is of Ministry of Environment and Forest. It has vividly described the efforts of the Central Government in this matter.

The Central Government, as per the report, has given the responsibility of testing all the possible means of drinking water in Punjab to Bhabha Atomic Research Centre.