New Delhi, May 16: The Haryana government on Friday assured the Supreme Court that it will not disrupt the supply of Yamuna river water to Delhi till May 21 and asked the Court to decide on water-sharing dispute between the two states. Also, the Supreme Court has directed the Delhi government to approach the Upper Yamuna River Board to settle the dispute between both the states regarding Yamuna water sharing.
The Apex Court has directed the states to decide fast as the issue involves drinking water and not irrigation. The Supreme Court was hearing a plea filed by the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) against a daily shortfall of 120 cusecs of water from the Yamuna. Reports inform that DJB had sought instructions to Haryana to supply 450 cusecs of potable water daily to Delhi, as agreed between the two states. Haryana was supplying to Delhi only 330 cusecs of water daily as against 450 cusec per day, the DJB petition said.
“Is not there one Upper Yamuna River Board or something? What are they doing? Why don’t they want to do their job? If they do not want to do their job, why should we do their job?” Justice Lokur was quoted by IANS. The Centre set up the board primarily to regulate the allocation of available water among five beneficiary basin states and also for monitoring the return flow. The apex court posted the matter for May 16.
According to reports, the Upper Yamuna River Board informed the bench that it has constituted a committee to study the river flow and water sharing among the riparian states. The Board on its part, also informed the Apex court that it would advise both states not to indulge in litigation and rather. It said both the states Delhi and Haryana should come before it for a solution to this long pending dispute.
The Haryana government during the hearing today told the court that it has not reduced water supply to Delhi even though the availability of the Yamuna water at Tajewala was down to about 56 per cent of the normal expected quantity during the first four months of 2018.
“On an average, 2,289 cusecs of water was received at Tajewala from January 1 to April 30, as against 4,081 cusecs estimated by the UYRB for the purpose of making tentative distribution,” an affidavit of the Haryana government. The affidavit said the DJB now wants additional supplies of about 120 cusecs, which is totally unjustified, it added.
The dispute between Delhi and Haryana over Yamuna water sharing has been a contentious issue for decades and the apex court had ordered Haryana to release 450 cusecs of water daily to Delhi in February 1996.
To recall, in April this year, Delhi Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash told a Bench comprising Justices Madan B. Lokur and Deepak Gupta that they had not agreed on certain aspects at the last meeting, his Haryana counterpart said the minutes of the last meeting were “correctly recorded”. “What Delhi is asking is not a favour from Haryana. It is as per the Supreme Court’s order. We had written to Haryana. They started releasing water but then they stopped it. We want a continuous supply of water,” Prakash said.
However, Additional Solicitor General A.N.S. Nadkarni, appearing for the Centre, said both Delhi and Haryana should sort it out and they should have a fresh meeting to deliberate on the issue.
Meanwhile, Haryana Chief Secretary D.S. Dhesi had said they had started releasing water to Delhi from April 2 itself. The counsel for Haryana said water was being released as per the agreement and claimed that Delhi wanted to get Haryana’s share of water also. “In the garb of a judicial order, they [Delhi] want Haryana to part with its share of water,” the counsel claimed.