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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Delhi Water Crisis: SC questions AAP govt on ‘tanker mafia’ measures

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court Wednesday came down heavily on the national capital’s Aam Aadmi Party government over the city’s ongoing water crisis and asked, “What measures have you taken to control the ‘tanker mafia’ in Delhi?

A Vacation Bench comprising Justices Prashant Kumar and Prasanna B Varale told the Delhi government that if they did not take any action against the ‘tanker mafia’, the court will have to ask the Delhi Police to step in.

The Bench questioned the Delhi Government over its lapses, as time and again the ruling AAP government has blamed both Haryana and Himachal governments for not supplying additional water to the capital reeling under a severe water crisis, when it was reportedly found that a tanker mafia was operational in the city causing the crisis.

The matter pertains to a petition filed in the apex court by the Delhi Government seeking directions to the Haryana and Himachal Governments to release surplus water to the national capital. The water flows from Himachal Pradesh through Haryana to Delhi.

The Congress government in Himachal Pradesh had agreed to release water but since it had to flow through BJP-ruled neighbouring state, directions were required to be given to them to let the water flow through Haryana.

The Supreme Court had on June 6, taken note of the urgency and directed the Himachal government to release 137 cusecs of water. The court also directed Haryana to facilitate the same and enable smooth onward flow of water from Himachal to the national capital.

The water passes through the canal in Haryana before reaching Delhi.

Soon after the top court passed directions to the HP government, the AAP government moved Supreme Court again alleging that both states were not cooperating in supplying water to the national capital.

The apex court then found that the petition filed by the AAP government had many defects. The Court was also informed that the water shortage being faced in Delhi is due to the tanker mafia which takes away all the water from Delhi’s reservoirs.

When asked by the court Delhi Water Minister Atishi replied that the state has directed Quick Response Teams to inspect major pipelines to ensure there was no leakage.

The Quick Response Teams comprising Additional District Magistrate/Sub Divisional Magistrate level officers and tehsildars were made responsible for the provision of water tankers and resolution of water-related complaints, Atishi in an affidavit submitted before the top court said.

Atishi also said that Delhi has been reeling under a water crisis and all steps were being taken to provide a smooth flow of water to the Delhi population.

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