Haryana agrees to supply water to Delhi till monsoon arrives, but with a rider
Haryana has held out an assurance that it will supply water to Delhi until the advent of the monsoon in north India in July, but with a condition: it wants the Delhi government to withdraw all the cases it has filed in the Delhi high court and the National Green Tribunal (NGT) related to their water dispute.
A senior Haryana government official, who is familiar with the hearings at the Upper Yamuna River Board (UYRB), before which the Delhi and the Haryana governments have made submissions, confirmed the development.
“We informed the board on Monday that Haryana would continue to supply water to Delhi and there won’t be any curtailment of water supply throughout June [till the monsoon arrives in July]. In return, we have urged Delhi to withdraw all cases which it has filed against Haryana in the Delhi high court and NGT in this regard,” the official said on condition of anonymity.
The Haryana government told UYRB it had no problem with hearings related to the dispute before the Supreme Court and the board, which regulates the sharing of Yamuna water among Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, UP, Rajasthan and the National Capital Territory of Delhi.
The assurance that Haryana will not, if its condition is fulfilled, restrict water supply in June, when Delhi swelters in temperatures surging up to as high as 45 degrees Celsius and power and water rationing are common, should cheer the Delhi government.
The Delhi government had moved the Supreme Court, Delhi high court and the NGT after the neighbouring state curtailed supply last month.
Dinesh Mohaniya, vice chairman of Delhi Jal Board (DJB), confirmed receiving the Haryana government offer. “We have received a proposal from Haryana in this regard. We will take the decision soon,” he said.
Earlier this month, DJB complained of a daily shortfall of 120 cusecs of water from the Yamuna and sought instructions from the apex court to Haryana to supply 450 cusecs of potable water daily to Delhi, as agreed between the two. Beginning April 2, the Haryana government had curtailed around 120 cusec of water.
Haryana assured the Supreme Court that it would continue to supply water to Delhi until May 21. The Delhi government has been concerned about the advent of a possible water crisis, prompting chief minister Arvind Kejriwal to write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, lieutenant governor (L-G) Anil Baijal and Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar to avert it. In response, the Haryana chief secretary wrote to his Delhi counterpart that Haryana would continue to supply water until May 31.
A war of words, meanwhile, broke out between the L-G and Kejriwal. Baijal, in a letter to Kejriwal, said attempts should have been made to resolve the water dispute through negotiations and dialogue rather than through “confrontation”. The Delhi Jal Board, of which Kejriwal is the chairperson , had moved the Supreme Court against the Haryana government.
Delhi receives around 1,133 cusecs of water from Haryana. While two-thirds of this comes through the carrier-lined-channel, called Nunak canal, one third comes through a sub branch canal. “The problem lies in the Delhi sub-branch, which Delhi wants us to repair. That can be done only in the monsoon. If we start repairing the sub branch, we would have to close this channel and water supply to Delhi would be reduced by one third resulting in an acute crisis,” said the Haryana government official cited in the first instance.