Delhi Water Crisis : SC asks UYRB to convene urgent meeting on June 5

- June 3, 2024
| By : Patriot Bureau |

The Court was hearing the Delhi government's petition seeking directions to the State of Haryana to facilitate supply of water to the national capital from Himachal Pradesh

A porter transports water to shops in Delhi’s Okhla as the city faces record-breaking temperatures

The Supreme Court announced on Monday that an urgent meeting of the Upper Yamuna River Board (UYRB) will be held on June 5 to address the Delhi water crisis.

The apex court was responding to a plea from the Delhi government seeking a directive for Haryana to release surplus water provided by Himachal Pradesh to alleviate Delhi’s ongoing water crisis.

A Vacation Bench of Justices Prashant Kumar Mishra and K V Viswanathan passed the order after hearing the Delhi government’s petition seeking directions to Haryana to facilitate the supply of water to the national capital from Himachal Pradesh.

“Why cannot there be a joint meeting of all the stakeholders?” the Court asked Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta at the outset of the hearing.

SG Mehta submitted that the issue is already being considered by the Upper Yamuna River Board. However, he also pointed to the alleged wastage of water in the national capital.

“The Delhi government has to rein in leakages. Water loss is more than 52% because of tanker mafia and all, my lords,” he said.

Appearing for the Delhi government, Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi submitted that there is an extreme heatwave in Delhi and that the water level at the Wazirabad plant must be maintained.

At this stage, the Court again urged the Centre to hold a meeting of stakeholders. SG Mehta then said that the meeting would be held on June 5.

Meanwhile, counsel for Himachal Pradesh submitted that the State was ready to provide water to Delhi through its canal network.

The Delhi government asked for additional water during the ongoing heatwave as a stop-gap emergency measure.

The bench scheduled the matter for further hearing on June 6, along with the minutes of the board meeting and proposed steps by stakeholders to resolve the issue.

Delhi’s Water Minister Atishi filed the plea, making the Centre, BJP-governed Haryana, and Congress-ruled Himachal Pradesh parties to the petition. The petition emphasizes that access to water is a basic human right essential for survival.

Also Read: ‘Shouldn’t we come together?’: Atishi appeals to Haryana, UP govts to release spare water to Delhi

The petition seeks a directive for the Haryana government to immediately and continuously release water at the Wazirabad barrage, including the full surplus water provided by Himachal Pradesh for the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi.

The national capital is currently battling a heatwave with temperatures exceeding 50 degrees Celsius, coupled with an acute shortage of water .            (With inputs from PTI)