Civil society activists have written to Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit opposing what they call an ‘unnecessary’ step for solving Delhi's water woes — the Renuka dam in Himachal Pradesh Giri river, a tributary of Yamuna.
Drawing Dikshit's attention to a number of issues — Delhi’s avoidable distribution losses, non-essential water guzzling activities, lack of rainwater harvesting, groundwater use and recharge, wastewater treatment and issues related to environmental & social costs/destruction due to the dam in Himachal Pradesh — the activists have urged her to “review Delhi government's position”.
More than 30 activists including Vandana Shiva, Manoj Mishra, Himanshu Thakkar, Rajendra Singh, Amita Baviskar and Ramaswamy R Iyer (former secretary, Ministry of Water Resources) to name a few, have endorsed the letter dated June 30.
Magsaysay award winner Rajendra Singh, one of the signatories, told HT, “Tomorrow the entire western Uttar Pradesh would be up in arms as they would be deprived of their share of Yamuna.”
Dikshit claimed she had not received the letter but nevertheless said she would be “willing to meet the activists and listen to their viewpoint.”
She however asserted, “Renuka dam was not meant only for Delhi, many other states too would benefit.”
Dikshit also said with more and more people coming daily to the national capital, “it is not for immediate use. The dam is being constructed with the future in mind.”
Dikshit also said she did not think that Rajasthan (a riparian state of Yamuna basin) not signing the original 1994 agreement was a problem. “For some reasons, they do not want to contribute."
But Himanshu Thakkar of South Asia Network on Dams, River & People (SANDRP), another signatory of the letter, points out, the Ministry of Law & Justice had in 2008 said the 1994 agreement is not legally valid and enforceable as Rajastan had not signed.
“Moreover, in early 2010, Haryana, Rajasthan and UP all asserted the right for sharing the benefits. (of Renuka dam). This way Delhi will hardly get any water.”