Water with tanker mafia, taps dry: Supreme Court reprimands Delhi Govt : The Tribune India

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Water with tanker mafia, taps dry: Supreme Court reprimands Delhi Govt

Tells it to list steps taken by Jal Board to check pilferage, wastage

Water with tanker mafia, taps dry: Supreme Court reprimands Delhi Govt

File photo



Tribune News Service

Satya Prakash

New Delhi, June 12

The Supreme Court on Wednesday pulled up the Delhi Government for its failure to take 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 over the matter to the Delhi Police to act against the mafia,” a Bench led by Justice PK Mishra told senior advocate AM Singhvi who represented the Delhi Government.

“There is so much spillage… the tanker mafia is there. People are suffering. 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 said.

Solicitor General Tushar Menta had earlier pointed out that 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 Delhi people. The Bench directed the Delhi Government to file an affidavit detailing measures taken by the Delhi Jal Board to check pilferage and wastage of water in the national Capital and posted the matter for Thursday.

The Bench was perplexed to see that affidavits in support of the Delhi Government’s petition for a direction to Haryana to release surplus water provided by Himachal Pradesh were filed by Delhi Water Minister Atishi and not DJB officials, which was the norm.

Interestingly, the Himachal Government told the Bench that 137 cusecs of 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 told Himachal advocate General Anup Kumar Rattan.

As the HP Government said 137 cusecs of 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 then where is the water going in Delhi?” Rattan, who appeared through video conferencing, said he would explain it to the Bench on Thursday.

Singhvi and advocate Shadan Farasat submitted on behalf of the Delhi Government that the tankers were of the Delhi Jal Board. They said the Delhi Government would file an affidavit detailing the steps taken to deal with pilferage of water. Represented by senior advocate Shyam Divan and Senior Additional Advocate General Lokesh Sinhal, the Haryana Government said there was no unutilised water available with HP and that the court was being misled.

Same story every summer

There is so much spillage… the tanker mafia is there. People are suffering. You are not doing anything. It's a recurring problem every summer. What have you done to prevent water wastage? —SC Bench

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