New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday extended its order asking to maintain the status quo on the supply of water to Delhi till 6 April. The bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde said that it doesn’t have time to hear this case today and it will continue the status quo till the next date of hearing. The bench on Thursday had asked Punjab, Haryana, and Bhakra-Beas Management Board to maintain the status quo on the supply of water to Delhi till Friday after the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) claimed that the water supply would be reduced in the national capital by 25% due to the closing of canal gates for repair.
“We are in regular touch with Bhakra-Beas Management Board (BBMB) over the water situation. We have learned they are preparing for an estimated cost required for repair work and its approval. Since the Supreme Court has now ordered a status quo, nothing will change till 6 April. The water supply will continue to its full capacity in the coming days. DJB is trying its best to ensure that water supply is not affected during the summer at least,” a senior DJB official told The Sunday Guardian.The senior official also informed that the DJB has planned for an “equitable supply” from its sources and will also manage with tankers.
“We don’t have an alternative as we don’t have our own water body source. We can’t get more from Uttar Pradesh. Whatever supply we are getting we are managing with that. We are trying our best that the people of Delhi don’t face any issues in summer and we want the repair should be postponed till monsoon or winters,” the senior official said.
Senior advocate Shyam Divan, who is appearing for Haryana, had informed the court that the state has not reduced water. To this, the Chief Justice replied: “Good then status quo order will not harm you.” The DJB had moved the court against the decision to curtail water supply to the national capital. The DJB on Thursday argued against immediate repair work in the canal and said: “The repair work can be delayed till monsoons. Or they should make some alternative source of water available.”
Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi who is appearing for the Delhi Jal Board informed the court on Thursday that Delhi has an urban population of over 2 crore and the people will be affected badly if the water supply is curtailed. DJB had also requested the Supreme Court to send a court commissioner to see the water situation on the ground. It said the level in the tanks should be 10 feet high, but it has gone down by half, as per reports.
Meanwhile, on Friday, several BJP workers led by MLA Jitendra Mahajan staged a demonstration at the Jal Board office at GTB Enclave to protest against water supply cuts in the Rohtash Nagar area and also gheraoed the area’s executive engineer. The MLA also warned that if the problem is not resolved shortly, the party would be staging a massive protest at Delhi Jal Board’s headquarter.
The Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) provides 232 million gallons per day (MGD) of raw water to Delhi from the Ravi and Beas rivers, which is around 25% of its total water supply, as per reports. It had last month announced that repair works of the canal will be carried out between 25 March to 24 April, and therefore raw water supply to Delhi will remain affected. DJB had approached the Supreme Court to seek its intervention in the matter.
The Sunday Guardian tried to contact Delhi Jal Board Vice-Chairman Raghav Chadda for comments, but didn’t receive any response till the time the story went to press.