Water supply: Hold fresh meeting cordially, SC tells Delhi, Haryana

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New Delhi, April 23 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Monday asked Chief Secretaries of Delhi and Haryana to hold fresh meeting with the Union Water Resources Secretary in “cordial atmosphere” to discuss the issues relating to the supply of Yamuna river water here.

Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta asked the Chief Secretaries, present in court, to hold the meeting on Monday itself on the issue of water sharing between the states and posted the matter’s next hearing on April 27.

On April 19, the bench had sought the presence of the Chief Secretaries of Delhi and Haryana, after it was told by the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) that it has not been receiving sufficient water from Haryana.

During the hearing, the Chief Secretaries of both the states were present in court and said a meeting was held but raised the issue on the minutes of meeting.

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Delhi’s Chief Secretary told the court that they had not agreed on the aspect of withdrawal of cases filed by the Delhi government against Haryana on the water issue but it was recorded in the minutes that the issue was agreed upon.

The Chief Secretary of Haryana said the minutes of the last meeting were correctly recorded.

Hearing the issue, the bench said: “What should be done now? Do we need to have CCTV cameras installed to see what they have said in the meeting? All of them are senior officers. Are we reducing ourselves to this stage?”

Additional Solicitor General N.S. Nadkarni, appearing for the Centre, told the court that both Delhi and Haryana should sort it out and they should have a fresh meeting to deliberate on the issue.

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Haryana’s Chief Secretary said they had started releasing water to Delhi from April 2 itself and water was being released as per the agreement.

However, Delhi’s Chief Secretary said Hayana had reduced the Yamuna water supply to Delhi leading to a severe water crisis in the capital.

With Delhi facing a water shortage, the DJB had moved the Supreme Court seeking directions to Haryana to release adequate water to the Wazirabad reservoir, alleging that one-third of the Yamuna water supply had been reduced.

The petition filed in the apex court sought instructions to Haryana to supply 450 cusecs of potable water daily to Delhi as agreed upon between the states.

Haryana was supplying to Delhi only 330 cusecs of water daily as against 450 cusec per day, the DJB petition said.

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“Delhi is in the midst of an acute water crisis owing to stopping of supply of water by Haryana in the Yamuna, which is meant for drinking purposes in Delhi,” the plea stated.

The DJB’s water treatment plants have been functioning below their capacities over the past few weeks due to drop in the level of Yamuna water and release of polluted water from Haryana that could not be treated, it added.

Yamuna water sharing between Delhi and Haryana has been a contentious issue for decades and the apex court had ordered Haryana to release 450 cusecs of water daily to Delhi in February 1996.



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