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Haryana, Delhi in water row

Haryana and Delhi are on the verge of locking horns over an opening made by the latter in the under-construction Munak-Haiderpur concrete lined channel (CLC) for withdrawing water for a new water treatment plant for Dwarka in New Delhi.

chandigarh Updated: Apr 28, 2012 12:31 IST
Hitender Rao

Haryana and Delhi are on the verge of locking horns over an opening made by the latter in the under-construction Munak-Haiderpur concrete lined channel (CLC) for withdrawing water for a new water treatment plant for Dwarka in New Delhi.

The Upper Yamuna River Board (UYRB), a subordinate organisation of union ministry of water resources (MoWR) has only made the matter worse with a former chairman of the board, Chetan Pandit reviewing and reversing the decision of his predecessor who had ordered the closure of the cut/opening in the CLC.

Haryana's response was tough with an infuriated state government lodging a protest with MoWR terming Pandit's decision to review "without power and unilateral".

A strongly worded communication from principal secretary (irrigation) Haryana to secretary, MoWR said: "The illegal order should be withdrawn immediately and a high level inquiry needs to be ordered into the conduct of the officer who broke all limits of fair play and brought all of us into an avoidable embarrassing situation. Haryana chief minister was stunned on being informed of this and ordered me to call upon you to intervene urgently and order withdrawal of this order."

Haryana's communication to the Centre further said that there was no power with the chairman, UYRB to review the order.

"The earlier order by the then UYRB chairman was passed following specific authorisation by UYRB and after hearing the view of both the states. No hearing was conducted by Pandit who passed the so called review orders after taking up a review application from Delhi Jal Board (DJB) on February 17, 2012. He unilaterally reviewed the earlier order which was conveyed nine days after his retirement. Even a copy of the review application filed by DJB was not given to Haryana despite our demand," the communiqué said.

The UYRB was constituted for regulation, supply and sharing of Yamuna water amongst Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Haryana, Delhi and Rajasthan.

Union minister of water resources, Pawan Kumar Bansal, when asked to comment, said though Haryana strongly objected to Pandit's "review" of an earlier order of UYRB chairman, the present chairman has put Pandit's review report in abeyance. "However, we are yet to confirm whether Pandit's review order was passed after his retirement or not,'' Bansal told HT.

UYRB chairman Rajesh Kumar said that though there was a provision for review, the state governments had to reach a common ground. "The so called review decision of Pandit was just an advice and not a decision. Haryana can approach the Upper Yamuna River Committee for a redressal on the issue,'' he told HT.

Complications have now started arising with the DJB writing to Haryana and asking it to advise its officials to allow DJB engineers to take up the work for connecting the CLC to the new intake structure (the cut/opening). The DJB wrote on April 18 quoting the review orders of Pandit.

Haryana on the other hand wrote back saying that since Pandit's orders have been kept in abeyance by the present chairman, DJB should ask its engineers to allow their Haryana counterparts to close the cut.

What is CLC
It is a 110-km-long water channel which starts from Munak in Karnal till Haiderpur in Delhi. The under construction concrete lined channel was initiated at the instance of Delhi government under a memorandum of understanding (MoU) of 1993 so that loss in carrying water gets reduced.

Delhi's share at Munak point is 610 cusecs (Bhakra and Yamuna waters combined). The utility of the CLC will be in reducing the loss of water due to seepage from present 30% to 5 % once it gets commissioned. Irrigation experts say that there will be a minimal seepage of water due to the concrete lined channel.