Kejriwal urges Baijal to take up matter with Modi, Gadkari.
New Delhi: As the national capital stares at a possible water crisis, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal wrote to his Haryana counterpart, Manohar Lal Khattar, and lieutenant-governor (L-G) Anil Baijal, on Thursday, requesting them to maintain the current level of water supply to avoid an “unprecedented situation.”
In another letter to Mr Baijal, Mr Kejriwal requested him to use good offices to persuade Haryana to continue the supply of same level of water. He also asked the L-G to take up the matter with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union water resources minister Nitin Gadkari.
Mr Kejriwal’s move came a day after the Haryana government assured the Supreme Court that it would maintain status quo in supplying water from the River Yamuna to the national capital till May 21. It said that it would decide on the Delhi government’s proposed request to continue the supply.
“Disruption in water supply from Haryana would affect Chandrawal Water Treatment Plant, which supplies water to the VIP areas of Delhi, including Rashtrapati Bhavan, the Parliament, embassies of various countries, and other major establishments,” Mr Kejriwal said.
Delhi has been receiving 1,133 cusecs of water from Haryana since 1996 but for the first time the state has contested Delhi’s claim, Mr Kejriwal stated.
The chief minister claimed that the apex court has directed Haryana to maintain status quo till May 21 and asked Delhi to approach the Upper Yamuna River Board.
In the letter to Mr Khattar, Mr Kejriwal said that Delhi has been facing shortage in the supply of drinking water since December 30 last year because of increased pollution levels at Wazirabad and since April 2 on account of reduced water release through Diversion Drain-8/river Yamuna.
“This has led to Wazirabad pond not being filled up to the desired level due to which drinking water production has been affected at Wazirabad and Chandrawal Water Treatment Plants. Supply of water through Delhi sub branch and carrier line channel is reduced by 100 cusecs,” he said.
On Wednesday, the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) told the Supreme Court that they would withdraw their petition filed in the apex court in the matter and approach the Upper Yamuna River Board (UYRB) immediately for continuation of release of drinking water to the national capital.
The court asked Haryana to expeditiously decide on Delhi’s request, saying the issue involves water for drinking purposes and not for irrigation.
“Counsel for the state of Haryana says that a decision will be taken on the request. However, regardless of the decision taken by the state government, the status quo will be maintained till May 21, 2018. Needless to say, the state of Haryana will take an independent decision,” the court said on Wednesday.