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SC questions Delhi govt over tanker mafias, wastage of water; seeks affidavit

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday questioned Delhi government over tanker mafias and wastage of water in the national capital and asked the AAP government to file an affidavit explaining measures taken by it to prevent loss of water in the national capital.
A vacation bench of Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra and Justice Prasanna B Varale took strong objection to the tanker mafias in the national capital and asked the Delhi government what action they have taken against tanker mafias. The bench also said that if Delhi government can't take any action against tanker mafias, then it will ask Delhi police to take action against tanker mafias.
The top court asked the Delhi government to file an affidavit on measures taken to prevent water loss and said that the affidavit may be filed today or tomorrow before the hearing. The court also deferred the hearing for June 13.
During the hearing, the top court also took strong exception on the Himachal Pradesh contradictory statement and asked the state official to be present in the court hearing tomorrow.
The top court noted that the entire basis of the petition is that Himachal Pradesh has access to water and now Himachal Pradesh has said that the water has been released. The court questioned Himachal Pradesh about whether they have access to water and remarked that the interim order was passed based on the statement by the Himachal Pradesh government that it has access to water. The court remarked that HP officials are in contempt and said that the officer will be straight away sent to jail.
When the hearing began in the morning, the court took a strong exception to various issues and remarked on the false statements made in court.
"If water is coming from Himachal Pradesh, then where is the water going in Delhi?" the court asked, observing that there are so many issues like spillage and tanker mafias, among others.
The court asked the Delhi government what they are doing to control tanker mafias and loss of water if water scarcity is a recurring problem in summers. The court said that it is seeing visuals on every news channel that people in the national capital are suffering.
Appearing for the Delhi government, advocate Shadan Farasat said that they will file an affidavit about the measures as they have taken multiple actions, including massive disconnections. Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, for the Delhi government, took court through the decision passed by the Yamuna Board and the water supply routes from Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.
The apex court was hearing the Delhi government's plea for release of surplus water from Himachal Pradesh as the people of the national capital are facing a shortage of water.
On the previous hearing on June 6, the top court allowed the State of Himachal Pradesh to release 137 cusecs of surplus water available with it and directed the Haryana government to facilitate the flow of the surplus water from Hathnikund barrage to Wazirabad uninterruptedly to Delhi to mitigate the drinking water crisis in the national capital.
It had asked Himachal Pradesh to release surplus water on June 7 with prior intimation to Haryana. It had also asked the Upper Yamuna River Board (UYRB) to measure water released by Himachal Pradesh at Hathnikund in Haryana.
Amid the water shortage in the national capital, the Delhi government approached the Supreme Court to get immediate additional water. The Himachal government had agreed to give surplus water to Delhi.
The Delhi government, in its plea, said that it is constrained to file the petition on account of the acute shortage of water being faced by the people of Delhi, triggered by the ongoing severe heat conditions in North India, particularly in Delhi.
The record-high temperatures and heatwave in Delhi, which have resulted in maximum temperatures rising up to around 50 degrees Celsius at some places, have caused an extraordinary and excessive surge in water demand in the city, the petition said.
As a result, the national capital is dealing with a water shortage, which has led to frequent supply cuts in many parts of the NCT of Delhi, and has disrupted the daily lives of ordinary residents, added the plea.
It further stated, "The Government of the NCT of Delhi has taken all administrative measures to ensure optimisation, rationing and targeted supply of water in the national capital; yet, the shortage of water remains acute and it is clear, by all indicators, that the NCT of Delhi is in dire need of additional water."
It said that in order to deal with this unanticipated demand in the summer months, the Delhi government has already devised a solution to meet the increased demand for water in the national capital--the State of Himachal Pradesh, has agreed to share its surplus water with Delhi.
"Himachal Pradesh does not share a physical boundary with the NCT of Delhi. Therefore, the excess or surplus water released by Himachal Pradesh, has to be transported through the existing water channels and river systems in Haryana and released to Delhi at the Wazirabad barrage. Therefore, Haryana's facilitation and cooperation, which are not being provided to date, are imperative," the petition stated.

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