Water crisis: Delhi Government blames Haryana for tanker mafia : The Tribune India

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Water crisis: Delhi Government blames Haryana for tanker mafia

A Bench led by Justice PK Mishra had on Wednesday pulled up the Delhi Government for its failure to take any action against the water tanker mafia

Water crisis: Delhi Government blames Haryana for tanker mafia

Locals collect free water being distributed at Kusumpur Pahari area of Vasant Vihar amid water crisis, in New Delhi, Thursday, June 13, 2024. PTI



Tribune News Service

Satya Prakash

New Delhi, June 13

A day after being taken to task by the Supreme Court for its failure to take action against the water tanker mafia in the national capital, the Delhi Government on Thursday alleged that the water tanker mafia was operating in Haryana and not in Delhi.

In an affidavit filed in the top court, the Delhi government said, “The tanker mafia is operational on the Haryana side of the Yamuna river and the petitioner (Delhi government) lacks jurisdiction to act against it.”

“It is for Haryana to explain what steps it is taking to preserve the full supply of water to Delhi between the point of release and the point of receipt,” the Arvind Kejriwal Government told the top court which resumed hearing on the issue this morning.

A Bench led by Justice PK Mishra had on Wednesday pulled up the Delhi Government for its failure to take any action against the water tanker mafia in the national capital which is facing an acute water crisis during peak summer.

“If you are not taking action, then we will hand it over to Delhi Police to take action against the tanker mafia,” the Bench had told senior advocate AM Singhvi who represented the Delhi Government.

“There is so much spillage…the tanker mafia is there. People are suffering. We are seeing this in all channels. You are not doing anything. It’s a recurring problem every summer. What have you done to prevent water wastage?... Have you taken any action or (filed) FIRs against the tanker mafia? Tanker mafias get water and pipelines are running dry,” the Bench had said.

The Bench had directed the Delhi Government to file an affidavit detailing the measures taken by the Delhi Jal Board to check pilferage and wastage of water in the national capital.

According to the Economic Survey of Delhi (2023-24), 52.35 per cent of water in Delhi either went waste or was pilfered by the water tanker mafia, leaving just 47.65 per cent water for Delhiites.

On Wednesday, the Bench was perplexed to see that affidavits in support of the Delhi Government’s petition seeking a direction to the Haryana Government to release surplus water provided by Himachal Pradesh to deal with the water crisis in the national capital were filed by Delhi Water Minister Atishi and not DJB officials – which was the norm.

Interestingly, the Himachal Pradesh Government told the Bench that 137 cusec water was already flowing to Delhi.

“Why didn’t you inform the Upper Yamuna River Board on June 5? Why are false statements being made before this court?... We will straightway send your officer to jail for contempt,” the Bench had told Himachal Pradesh Advocate General Anup Kumar Rattan.

As the Himachal Pradesh Government said that 137 cusec water was already flowing to Delhi and the NCT Government maintained that it did not reach Delhi, the Bench wondered, “if water is coming from Himachal Pradesh then where is the water going in Delhi?”

Rattan was expected to explain it to the Bench on Thursday.

Represented by senior advocate Shyam Divan and Senior Additional Advocate General Lokesh Sinhal, the Haryana Government had asserted that there was no unutilised water available with Himachal Pradesh and that the top court was being misled.

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