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Delhi water crisis: SC adjourns for June 12 Delhi government's plea for surplus water

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday adjourned for June 12 the hearing of the Delhi government's plea for the release of surplus water from Himachal Pradesh as the people of the national capital are facing a shortage of water.
A vacation bench of Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra and Justice Prasanna B Varale took strong objection to the Delhi government's failure to remove defects in its petition and deferred the hearing.
It noted that the status report and other affidavits are not on record in the case as defects in the petition have not been removed.
The bench also warned the counsel for the Delhi government to dismiss the case.
"You cannot take this court for a ride. Let the office verify that you removed the defects and if you did not, then let the petition be dismissed. It will be dismissed," the bench remarked.
The bench, while hearing the case, also remarked that it would prefer to read the files first so that they wouldn't get swayed by the media coverage of the case.
"List it the day after tomorrow so all the reports, etc. are on record. We also want to read the file. There is so much reporting in media and if we do not read files, then the media reports can impress us and that is not a good thing," said Justice Mishra.
On the last day of the 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.
Haryana should not obstruct the onward flow of water to Delhi from Himachal Pradesh but should instead facilitate the same. The bench had sought a status report in this regard by June 10.
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 temperature 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 had 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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