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Maintain status quo on water supply to Delhi: SC directs Punjab, Haryana govts & BBMB

ANI | Updated: Mar 25, 2021 16:20 IST

New Delhi [India], March 25 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the governments of Punjab and Haryana and Bhakra-Beas Management Board (BKMB) to maintain status quo on the water supply to Delhi till Friday after the Delhi Jal Board claimed that water supply could be reduced here by 25 per cent because of closing of canal gates for repair.
A bench, headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, also issued notices to the governmenst of Punjab, Haryana and BBMB on DJB's plea against the curtailment of supply of water to Delhi.
"Respondents are directed to maintain status quo regarding the supply of water to Delhi", ordered the apex court bench. The bench also said that it would hear the case on Friday as there is "urgency" in the matter.
Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for the DJB, contended before the top court that Delhi has two crores of urban population and curtailment of water supply will badly affect the people.
He further said that the canal repair works should not be done in March-April when the water demand is at its peak.
"We are saying that we do not have a problem when you do repair, but at least they can start repairing work in winter or monsoon but not in April.
"It is a routine repair of two gates. We have written six letters since February 2021, our senior officers went and visited the site. We have Lutyens Delhi but we have common men. This will cut down 25 per cent water supply," Singhvi contended in the court.
Advocate Gautam Narayan, who was also appearing for DJB, told the Supreme Court that 20 per cent of Delhi drinking water would be curtailed from Thursday because of repair work on the canal.
"We asked them not to carry out construction work now and postpone the work till monsoon or at least they have to make available an alternate drinking water route, he added.
"The Chief Secretary has written to Punjab and Haryana. The DJB CEO has inspected and work can happen during monsoon," Narayan said.
Senior advocate Shyam Divan, appearing for the Haryana government, said no decision has been made to cut off the water supply.
"We have not curtailed the water supply or reduced the water. Water supply as it was before. The water level is being maintained," Divan said.
The apex court was hearing an application of the DJB seeking direction be issued to the Haryana and Punjab government to release the water to avert a potentially severe crisis in the national capital.
It has claimed that the Haryana and Punjab government will reduce the supply of raw water to Delhi, resulting in a shortage of water supply in Delhi.
The application of DJB was filed in an already pending plea of DJB seeking directions for the Haryana government for ceasing the discharge of untreated effluents resulting in a rise of ammonia levels in river water. (ANI)