Delhi govt to approach Supreme Court to get capital’s rightful share of water from Haryana: Atishi


PTI, May 30, 2024, 7:55 PM IST

The Delhi government will approach the Supreme Court over Haryana not releasing the national capital’s share of water, which has led to a crisis situation, Water Minister Atishi said on Thursday.

Addressing a press conference here, Atishi said Delhi is staring at an ”emergency situation” and announced a slew of emergency measures to tackle the crisis, including a ban on the use of drinking water for washing cars and at construction sites.

 

The government held an emergency meeting regarding the water crisis that the city is facing amid a heatwave.

”We are going to the Supreme Court so that the court tells Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, from where Delhi’s water comes, that Delhiites should get their rightful share of water. Apart from this, many emergency measures are being taken by the Delhi government,” Atishi said.

She said a central water tanker control room is being set up in the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) and it will be monitored by an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer.

”There will be a central command and control centre. Any Delhi resident who wants a water tanker should dial 1916. From 1916, the request will go to our water tanker war room and from there, tankers will be provided to places where there is a shortage of water supply,” the minister added.

She said from June 5, an ADM-level officer and an SDM-level officer will be stationed in each of the 11 water zones of the national capital.

Why June 5? Because all the ADMs and SDMs are busy in election duty. These officers will form a quick response team. Wherever there are water-shortage hotspots, these ADMs, SDMs and their tehsildars will be fully available to deliver tankers and solve the problem,” Atishi explained.

She added that a special team of the DJB’s electrical department is being formed and it will work round the clock to ensure that no borewell is damaged or dysfunctional.

”We had announced on Wednesday itself that we are forming 200 enforcement teams of the DJB, which will check the wastage of water. A senior IAS officer is being appointed to head these teams. He will monitor these 200 teams and the challans issued by them,” the minister said.

Further elaborating on the measures, she said there will be a complete ban on the use of potable water at construction sites, whether it comes from tankers, pipelines or borewells.

”If any construction site is found using potable water, it will be sealed by the MCD,” she said.

Atishi said the Municipal Corporation of Delhi’s (MCD) reinforcement teams will start visiting construction sites from Friday morning.

”There are many car-repair and car-wash centres that use potable water supplied by the DJB via the drinking water pipeline. The use of drinking water to wash cars and at car-repair centres is being completely banned.

”From Friday, DPCC (Delhi Pollution Control Committee) teams will be on the ground to inspect car-wash and car-service centres. If any such centre is found using drinking water, it will be sealed immediately,” the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader said.

Delhi is ”going through an emergency situation”, she said while attributing it to the heatwave in the national capital and Haryana not releasing water from the Yamuna river.

”We appeal to Delhiites to cooperate with the government. Use as little water as possible, do not waste water. Only when all Delhiites come together, we will be able to face this crisis,” Atishi said.

Delhi Health Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj said the health and water departments will play the most important role during this heatwave. ”But the health department’s secretary and the CEO of the DJB have gone on leave without informing their ministers and without taking permission from them.

”We do not even know the reason why they have taken leave. The people of Delhi should be our priority. The chief secretary told Thursday’s meeting that he has given leave to both of them. The chief secretary is giving leave to the head of such an important department on his own without informing the minister. This is surprising and unfortunate,” he said.

Bharadwaj said they will tell the apex court that if there is any possibility of getting water from the neighbouring states, the states should provide water to Delhi for a few days.

”If we get at least 50 MGD (million gallons per day) water in the Wazirabad pond, it will provide some relief,” he said.

The capital is facing a water shortage due to unprecedented summer heat, with temperatures hovering around the 50 degree-Celsius mark in parts of the city.

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