SC directs HP govt to release 137 cusecs of surplus water to Delhi

New Delhi, June 6 (UNI) The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Himachal Government to release 137 cusecus of surplus water to Haryana which will then release the water to fulfill the requirements of Delhi.

A Bench comprising Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra and Justice KV Viswanathan while hearing the plea filed by Delhi government seeking to release surplus water by Haryana to tide over shortage in national capital, said that Himachal government should release the water to Haryana which will let pass it to Delhi.

Senior Advocate Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi appeared for the Delhi goverment.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Vikramjit Banerjee appeared for the respondents.

Singhvi told the court, ” Himachal has no objection and Haryana has not responded. We have the reports (of the board) just now.

Justice Viswanathan said, ” It is an existential problem Mr Banerjee.”

ASG then read from the Upper Yamuna River Board report.

Justice Mishra said, The water is coming from Himachal not Haryana?

Dr Singhvi replied, “yes”

Justice Viswanathan then said, “this is about right of way. If we do not take cognisance of such a serious issue please … Himachal is giving 150 cusecs to you (Haryana) let it pass through. We will tell the Chief Secretary if needed, the bench said.

Dr Singhvi then read from the report saying that the water from Beas (river) can be sent through Haryana canals.

“Himachal is showing grace and humility”

Counsel for Haryana said the proposal is not feasible: “There is no way it can be done. ”

Justice Mishra said to Singhvi, “Tomorrow there should be no politics saying Himachal is giving the water but Haryana not releasing.”

Dr Singhvi said, We just asked for one month. This should have needed 5 minutes only.”

Justice Viswanathan said, It is the board’s recommendation now, we are passing order on that not by taking cognisance of the petition.

Justice Mishra said who will monitor whether Himachal is releasing the surplus water or not?

Dr Singhvi said, This is very unfortunate my lords (Haryana’s contentions).

Advocate Shadan Farasat also appearing for Delhi government said, “Look at Haryana’s attitude. This is obstruction of the highest my lords. They do not have any valid reasons.”

Justice Viswanathan said, “Is the water crisis not recognised (by the report)?

Justice Mishra asked the Counsel what is the objection if we pass orders to release the surplus water?

Singhvi said, “With great respect they have no answers to Justice Mishra’s question. This is only a one month stop gap measure.

The bench said, “Yes you have said 5 times. We are also in Delhi for this next month.”

ASG said, “There is no way to measure and differentiate the surplus water is Haryana’s contention.

Singhvi said, The board knows very well that water like money is fungible.

Farasat said, “The release will happen from Hathnikund which is upstream from both States and Delhi will receive it downstream via Wazirabad. That is how it works.

Haryana counsel said, We are disputing the data given to the Board.

Justice Mishra said, what is the source? If data or statements were wrong then we will haul up for contempt.

Himachal counsel: An official from Jal Shakti …

ASG said that is union of India.

Justice Viswanathan jokingly said, “We all have shakti from jal

Advocate Farasat said, “They just do not want to get it done.

Singhvi said, Their attitude is not to help.

Justice Mishra said, “You just have to give passage”.

The bench then dictated the order and said, Haryana government stated that it is also facing heatwave but the Board was not given data on any resultant water shortage there, while Delhi has asked for 150 cusecs of water to meet drinking water demands to meet out heatwave conditions.

The bench said, “Since Himachal has no objection, we direct that it shall transfer 137 cusecs of water from the upstream so water reaches Hathnikund barrage and reaches Delhi through Wazirabad.

As and when the surplus water is released by State of Himachal Pradesh with prior intimation, the State of Haryana shall facilitate the flow of water from Hathnikund to Wazirabad so it reaches Delhi without obstruction so the residents get drinking water.’

The bench said, “We are conscious of the fact that due to the acute water shortage, there should be no wastage of water by the Delhi goverment for which it should adopt the measures suggested by the Board.

The bench said, “Considering the urgency, we direct Himachal Pradesh to release the water tomorrow with prior intimation to Haryana and UYRB shall measure the water for onward supply.

Status report be submitted on Monday, list on Monday, the bench said.

The court directed all the parties to file compliance affidavits by then.

Water to be released is 137 cusecs, the Court specified.

The Top Court directed the Upper Yamuna River Board to measure the water at Hathnikund in assistance with Haryana government.

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