Himachal tells SC it doesn't have surplus water, court asks Delhi govt to approach Yamuna board

The top court asked the Delhi government to submit an application to the Upper Yamuna River Board by 5 pm on Thursday, seeking supply of water to the national capital on humanitarian grounds.
Supreme Court of India
Supreme Court of IndiaPhoto | PTI

Relief for Delhi residents from the water crisis does not seem likely soon, as the Himachal Pradesh government on Thursday told the Supreme Court that it did not have a surplus of 136 cusecs of water to provide.

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 water supply.

It also said that the board shall convene a meeting tomorrow and take a decision on the matter at the earliest.

"We don't have surplus water to spare (to Delhi)," the HP government submitted to the SC.

This stand of the HP govt was in direct contradiction to its earlier submissions to the SC that it would provide additional water to Delhi.

This development is a major setback for the people of Delhi, which is grappling with an acute shortage of water.

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The top court asked the Delhi government to submit an application to the UYRB (Upper Yamuna River Board) by 5 pm on Thursday, seeking supply of water to the national capital on humanitarian grounds.

The Delhi government had moved the apex court seeking additional water from Haryana and Himachal Pradesh to mitigate the water crisis faced by the city.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), while complying with yesterday's SC's order, said it was unable to take action against the water mafia due to the jurisdiction issues. The Kejriwal government, however, said it was making all efforts to control water leakages in this regard.

During the course of the hearing today, 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 instantaneously.

"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.

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