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Posted at: May 17, 2018, 12:01 AM; last updated: May 17, 2018, 12:01 AM (IST)YAMUNA SUPPLY

Status quo on water to Delhi till May 21, SC told

New Delhi, May 16

The Haryana Government on Wednesday assured the Supreme Court that it would maintain status quo on supply of the Yamuna river water to the national capital till May 21 and would decide on the Delhi Government’s proposed request to continue the supply.

The Delhi Jal Board (DJB) told a Bench comprising Justices Madan B Lokur and Navin Sinha that they would withdraw their petition filed in the apex court in the matter and approach the Upper Yamuna River Board (UYRB) immediately for continuance of release of drinking water to Delhi.

One of the functions of the UYRB, set up by the Centre in 1995, is to regulate and supply of water from all storage sites and barrages up to the Okhla barrage in Delhi, in accordance with the agreements between the governments of six basin states of Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Delhi and Rajasthan.

During the hearing, counsel for the Delhi Government told the Bench that a request would be made on Wednesday itself to Haryana for continuing the status quo relating to the release of drinking water.

The court asked Haryana to expeditiously decide on Delhi’s request, saying the issue involves water for drinking purposes and not for irrigation.

“Counsel for Haryana says that a decision will be taken on the request but regardless of the decision taken by the state government, the status quo will maintain till May 21. Needless to say, Haryana will take an independent decision,” the Bench said.

“We expect the board to meet over the next couple of days and sort out the matter amicably between the state of Delhi and the state of Haryana,” it said, adding it expected all UYRB members to attend the meeting so that representatives of Delhi and Haryana could place their views.

“We leave it open to the board to take a call whether it is necessary for the basin states to be represented,” the Bench said, adding “the application (of DJB) is dismissed as withdrawn”.

“We are glad to note that there is finally some agreement between the Government of Delhi represented through the Delhi Jal Board and the Government of Haryana,” the Bench noted in its order.

The top court also pulled up the Delhi Government for approaching the National Green Tribunal, Delhi High Court and then the apex court in this matter and not the UYRB. “The whole purpose of UYRB is that it should look into it since they are a professional expert body,” the Bench said.

The top court was hearing DJB’s plea which had alleged that Haryana had reduced by one-third the supply of the Yamuna water to Delhi, leading to a grave water crisis. — PTI


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