Jat stir: Munak Canal besieged, water rationing kicks in

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Feb 22, 2016 13:12 IST
Soldiers take position near Munak Canal in Karnal district on sunday. (HT Photo)

Delhi is staring at a dry Monday after it exhausted its water reserves on Sunday and a man was killed in a failed bid by evict Jat protesters from the Munak Canal, the city’s lifeline, in neighbouring Haryana.

There will be no water supply to central, west and north Delhi, including the Lutyens’ zone — the city’s power district. Water will be rationed, with 423 Delhi Jal Board tankers criss-crossing the Capital, the Delhi government said on Sunday.

West Delhi, which has been hit the hardest, will be the first area to get water.

Watch | Jat agitation hits Delhi, schools and water supply affected

Piped water will only be available to army installations, hospitals, fire brigade, the Rashtrapati Bhavan and residences of the prime minister and chief justice of India, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said.

His water minister Kapil Mishra requested people to use water judiciously as there was no clarity on when regular supply would be restored.

Haryana, the single biggest source of water for the city, has been rocked by widespread violence and arson with Jat protesters demanding a quota in jobs and colleges.

The closure of the Munak Canal, which carries 543 million gallons of water per day (MGD) from the Yamuna river to the city, has severely hit Delhi. Many areas of the city went without water on Sunday and many more reported low pressure.

The Delhi government was short of 480 MGD, the CM said. The tanker of the city’s water distributor, the Delhi Jal Board, will provide only 2.5 MGD and that too for drinking purposes. The government, which has ordered closure of schools on Monday, will also plead its case for the Munak water in the Supreme Court.

The government is hopeful of a positive outcome but it will take at least 24 hours for the supply to be restored. The water has to be sent to treatment plants, seven of which have been forced shut due to lack of supply from Haryana.

“Even if the gates are opened, the damage to the equipment will have to be repaired. It will take at least 24 hours for the supply to start,” a Delhi Jal Board official said.

On Sunday afternoon, army and para-military forces were sent to Sonepat to secure the Munak Canal but couldn’t dislodge the protesters, one of whom was killed in firing.

“We have not been able to evict the protesters. We have temporarily suspended the efforts to evict them as the situation may turn volatile,” Haryana additional chief secretary (home) PK Das said. Warning of a grave situation on Monday, Mishra, who is also the Delhi Jal Board chairperson, said they would only be able to supply drinking water.

“Only two water treatment plants are functional. We are looking at all available options but our supply will be completely depleted after Monday,” Mishra said.

Though the Haryana government on Sunday accepted the quota demands, it is still not clear if it would end the violent stir. Delhi will be watching the developments closely.

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