The AAP government in Delhi, on April 16, 2018, disputed the correctness of an agreement pertaining to the release of water from the Yamuna by Haryana, saying that the minutes of a meeting held on March 28, 2018, do not reflect the correct state of affairs. A Supreme Court bench of justices MB Lokur and Deepak Gupta, asked the secretary of Water Resource, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, to inform the counsel for the centre about the correct state of affairs of the minutes of the meeting.
Senior advocate Shyam Divan, appearing for the Haryana government, said that under the agreement reached, the Delhi government had to make a formal request for release of water to the national capital.
Senior advocate Parag Tripathi, appearing for Delhi Jal Board, said that he has no issue with making a formal request but the water has to be released, as the Delhi government was unable to meet the demand for drinking water. He said that the minutes of the meeting, submitted by Haryana to the court, do not reflect the correct position.
The bench then asked Tripathi, to specify the correct position on the minutes. However, Tripathi said he had no specific instruction on the issue and had to ascertain the factual position. Divan said that if a formal request was made, then, it would be considered, as soon as it was received but added that it was agreed between the parties that the Delhi government would withdraw the cases filed at the National Green Tribunal and the Delhi High Court. The bench then posted the matter for further hearing on April 19, 2018.
The meeting, held on March 28, 2018, on the issue of shortage in the supply of Yamuna water to Delhi, was chaired by the secretary of the Union Ministry of Water, UP Singh and was attended by the chief secretaries of Haryana and Delhi. On April 2, 2018, the Delhi government had informed the apex court that it was negotiating with Haryana, for the release of 450 cusecs of water of the Yamuna river per day, for the national capital. The Delhi Jal Board (DJB) had told the court that Haryana had released some amount of water and requested that the court might not need to pass any order, as both, Delhi and Haryana governments, were negotiating to resolve the crisis.
The apex court was hearing a plea filed by the DJB, alleging that Haryana had reduced the supply of Yamuna water to the national capital by one-thirds, leading to a grave water crisis here.
The DJB contended in its plea that Haryana was supplying Delhi only 330 cusecs of water per day, as against 450 cusecs per day, which was agreed upon between the state and the union territory. It claimed that due to the curtailment in water supply to the Wazirabad reservoir, the plant was running at reduced capacity, leading to a ‘grave water crisis‘ in the city.
The DJB had said the situation would ‘escalate’, as the temperature rises with the onset of summer and the demand for drinking water shoots up. It has sought directions from the apex court to the Haryana government, to supply the full 450 cusec of water per day continuously and daily to the Wazirabad reservoir. The Delhi High Court had also recently told the Haryana government that it has to stick to its 2014 direction, specifying the amount of water to be released to Delhi every day.