Delhi water woes to aggravate; security forces fail to secure canal

Chandigarh, Feb 21 (IANS) Security forces failed to secure the Munak canal, which supplies water to national capital Delhi, in Haryana’s Sonipat district on Sunday even though one person was killed in firing by the troops, an official said.

With the canal and its water supply machinery, which has been damaged, not being in control of the authorities, Delhi’s water woes are likely to aggravate in the coming days.

One person among the protestors was killed in the firing by security forces and the operation was halted by authorities fearing more casualties.

Army and para-military forces, which were sent to secure the area where Jat protestors had damaged equipment and disrupted the water supply to Delhi, had fired at the protestors after use of tear gas and other measures failed to give any results.

Haryana Home Secretary P.K. Dass said: “Efforts were made to disperse the protesters at Akbarpur-Barota so as to release water for Delhi, but all in vain. Since the protestors were in huge number, not much force was used to avoid casualties.”

“The efforts to release water were temporarily postponed. One person was killed in firing. We have appealed to the protesters to let the administration release water for Delhi,” he said.

Officials earlier said army and paramilitary personnel reached the place where the water supply equipment and machines were damaged by the protesters.

“The Haryana government is giving top priority to restore water supply to Delhi,” Haryana Police chief Y.P. Singhal said here on Sunday.

He said paramilitary forces and irrigation department officials had reached Akbarpur Barota and efforts were being made to restore the supply.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday said the capital was “facing a very serious water crisis” because of the Jat protests in Haryana and water was to be strictly rationed in the city.

The Munak canal in Haryana, which supplies water to many parts of Delhi, was shut down after it was vandalised by a section of Jats demanding quota in government jobs and educational institutions.

Kejriwal said he had spoken to Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on the need to restore water supply to Delhi at the earliest.

He said water would be supplied through tankers to areas in Delhi hit by scarcity.

Because of the water crisis, all schools in the national capital would be shut on Monday.

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