Delhi-Haryana water sharing: SC slams Upper Yamuna River Board

New Delhi, May 11 (PTI) The Supreme Court today slammed the Upper Yamuna River Board (UYRB) for not doing their job pertaining to distribution of river water among the beneficiary states, asking it why should the courts do its work.

The apex court, which was hearing a matter relating to river Yamuna water sharing between Delhi and Haryana, observed that the UYRB was supposed to do their job of regulating water supply to the barrages and asked the board to give its suggestions on the issue by May 14.

UYRB was set up by the Centre in 1995, with one of its main functions being to regulate and supply water from all storages and barrages till the Okhla barrage in Delhi, in accordance with the agreements between the governments of the six basin states of Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi.

“Why is the Upper Yamuna River Board not doing their job? What are they doing,” a bench comprising Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta asked, adding, “the board is supposed to do its job. We do not know why they (UYRB) do not want to do their job? Why should we do their job?.”

It directed the board to give its suggestions or take a decision in the matter related to water sharing between Haryana and Delhi and posted it for further hearing on May 16.

During the brief hearing, Haryana’s counsel told the bench that they were supplying Yamuna water to Delhi and would not alter the status quo.

The lawyer said there was a clear-cut allocation of water and Haryana was supplying water, which was more than what was stipulated, to Delhi.

Delhi’s counsel said that the issue was about the continuation of the stream of drinking water to the national capital.

The bench observed, “We will hear the matter on July 16. In the meantime, the status quo would continue”.

On May 1, Haryana government had told the apex court that it was facing a “huge distress” for water as it was receiving only half the supply from Hathni Kund barrage located in the Yamuna Nagar district. Haryana had, however, said that it would continue supplying 150 cusecs of water to Delhi till May 15.

Delhi had earlier said that there was a shortfall of 120 cusecs of water of Yamuna river daily for the national capital.

The court was hearing a plea filed by the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) which has alleged that Haryana had reduced by one-third the supply of Yamuna water to the national capital, leading to a grave water crisis.

The DJB had contended that Haryana was supplying Delhi only 330 cusecs of water daily as against 450 cusecs per day, which was agreed upon between the state and the Union Territory. It had claimed that due to curtailment in the water supply to Wazirabad reservoir, the plant was running at reduced capacity leading to a “grave water crisis” in the city.

The DJB had sought directions from the apex court to Haryana to supply the entire 450 cusec of water per day continuously and daily to the Wazirabad reservoir.

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