Queues, fisticuffs — thirst gets worse as politics peaks in parched capital

On the legal side, the worse came: the Himachal Pradesh government on Thursday told the Supreme Court that it did not have a surplus of 136 cusecs to the parched city.
 People collect drinking water from a tanker amid ongoing Delhi water crisis, at Vivekanand camp in New Delhi, Thursday.
People collect drinking water from a tanker amid ongoing Delhi water crisis, at Vivekanand camp in New Delhi, Thursday.Photo | PTI

NEW DELHI: What price water in several parts of Delhi? Ask people: At least Rs 200, plus some yelling and, at times, fisticuffs. The worst hit are central, east and southern parts of the city, including Anand Parbat, Baljeet Nagar, Geeta colony, Jagatpuri, slums in Chanakyapuri, Ambedkar Basti, Bijwasan, Kusumpur Pahadi, Khanpur, Sangam Vihar and Devli.

That’s the routine as politics peaks in the full-blown summer season—from the ruling AAP government, the L-G and the BJP with the Congress ready to enter the fray.

On the legal side, the worse came: the Himachal Pradesh government on Thursday told the Supreme Court that it did not have a surplus of 136 cusecs to the parched city.

Upon hearing this, a two-judge vacation bench of the top court, led by Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra and Prasanna B Varale, directed the Delhi government to approach the Upper Yamuna River Board (UYRB) for getting the supply. The board will meet on Friday to decide the matter “at the earliest.”

The Himachal government was plain in its response: “We don’t have surplus water to spare for Delhi.” It contradicted its earlier submission that it would provide additional water to Delhi.

The SC has asked the city government to submit an application to the UYRB by 5 pm on Thursday, seeking supply of water to the national capital on humanitarian grounds.

The AAP government, while complying with the SC order, said that it was unable to take action against the water mafia due to the jurisdiction issues. The govt, however, said that it was making all efforts to control water leakages.

In the hearing on Thursday, the apex court also expressed its inability to adjudicate the issue on an interim measure, as it said that it did not have the technical expertise to decide on it immediately.

“The sharing of Yamuna water between states is a complex and sensitive issue. The issue should be left to be considered by a body constituted with the agreement of various parties in the memorandum of understanding dated 1994,” the bench said.

What is Delhi govt stand in SC

A two-judge vacation bench of the top court has directed the Delhi government to approach the Upper Yamuna River Board to get the supply. The AAP govt, while complying with the SC order, said that it was unable to take action against the water tanker mafia due to jurisdiction issues.

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