Delhi water crisis: Supreme Court asks Delhi Government to approach Upper Yamuna River Board for additional 150 cusecs water : The Tribune India

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Delhi water crisis: Supreme Court asks Delhi Government to approach Upper Yamuna River Board for additional 150 cusecs water

The order came after Himachal Pradesh said it had no surplus water left for Delhi as it had already been released

Delhi water crisis: Supreme Court asks Delhi Government to approach Upper Yamuna River Board for additional 150 cusecs water

Photo for representational purpose only. PTI file



Tribune News Service

Satya Prakash

New Delhi, June 13

Noting that it didn’t have the expertise to decide the “complex and sensitive issue”, the Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Delhi Government to approach the Upper Yamuna River Board (UYRB) for an additional 150 cusec water to deal with the water peak summer water crisis in the National Capital.

“The issue should be left to be considered by the UYRB, a Body constituted with the agreement of parties in the MoU dated May 12, 1994,” a Vacation Bench led by Justice PK Mishra said.

“Since the UYRB has already directed the State of Delhi to submit an application for supply of additional 150 cusecs of water on humanitarian ground, let such application be made, if not already made, by 5 p.m. today and thereafter the UYRB shall convene a meeting tomorrow, i.e., June 14, 2024 and take a decision in the matter at the earliest,” it ordered.

“Interestingly, the State of Haryana as well as learned ASG (Vikramjit Banerjee for UYRB) has also submitted that the issue can be resolved by the UYRB and not by this court which does not have necessary expertise in the matter,” it noted.

Senior counsel AM Singhvi and advocate Shadan Farasat urged the Bench to set up an independent panel to examine the issue but it didn’t accede to the demand.

“Having heard learned counsel for the parties at length, today and on previous dates, we are also of the view that the issue concerning sharing of Yamuna water between the States who are signatories of the MoU dated May 12, 1994, is complex and sensitive issue and this Court does not have the expertise to decide, even on interim basis, which may violate or tinker the MoU settled between the parties,” the Bench said.

The order came after the Himachal Pradesh Government said it had no surplus water left for Delhi as it had already been released.

The top court warned Himachal Pradesh of contempt of court action for misleading the top court as it was on the basis of their statement that it had passed an order on releasing surplus 137 cusecs water available with it from the upstream so that the water reached Hathni Kund Barrage and then reached Delhi through Wazirabad Barrage.

However, on Thursday, the Himachal Pradesh Advocate General withdrew the state’s earlier statement and categorically said the State did not have additional 137 cusecs water as on date.

On behalf of the Haryana Government, senior advocate Shyam Divan and Senior Additional Advocate General Lokesh Sinhal pointed out Haryana itself was facing water crisis and the June 5 UYRB meeting also noted that the state did not have surplus water.

They said water level at Wazirabad was maintained all throughout vis-à-vis release of 1050 cusecs water from Munak Head and delivery of agreed quantity of water by Haryana to Delhi to submit that Haryana was releasing 1050 cusecs of water to Munak in terms of the MoU dated May 12, 1994, and other obligations.

Earlier, the Supreme Court had on June 6 directed the Himachal Pradesh Government to release 137 cusecs of its surplus water to Hathni Kund Barrage for its onward supply to Delhi to enable it to deal with peak summer water crisis.

“Considering the urgency in the matter, we direct Himachal Pradesh to release the surplus drinking water by tomorrow, i.e., on June 7, 2024, with prior intimation to the Haryana Government,” it had said.

Terming it “an existential problem” for Delhi, the top court had directed the Haryana Government to facilitate further release of the water received from Himachal Pradesh at Hathni Kund Barrage to Wazirabad Barrage to save the National Capital from acute water shortage.

The Bench had directed the Upper Yamuna River Board to measure the excess water received at Hathnikund Barrage from Himachal Pradesh for its onward supply to Wazirabad with the assistance of the State of Haryana.

However, in view of change in the stand of the Himachal Pradesh Government, the Bench said that “the very basis of our interim order dated 06.06.2024 does not survive…”

 

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