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'Might Have To Cut Down Water Supply To Hospitals Due To Shortage': Delhi Jal Board Seeks Urgent Hearing Before Supreme Court

Srishti Ojha
5 May 2021 1:54 PM GMT
Might Have To Cut Down Water Supply To Hospitals Due To Shortage: Delhi Jal Board Seeks Urgent Hearing Before Supreme Court
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Delhi Jal Board on Wednesday informed the Supreme Court that it might have to reduce the water being supplied to Delhi hospitals in wake of the acute shortage it's facing and lack of supply from States of Punjab and Haryana. A three Judge Bench of CJI Ramana, Justice Surya Kant and Justice Bopanna heard the request of urgent hearing made by Senior Advocate Vikas Singh. The...

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Delhi Jal Board on Wednesday informed the Supreme Court that it might have to reduce the water being supplied to Delhi hospitals in wake of the acute shortage it's facing and lack of supply from States of Punjab and Haryana.

A three Judge Bench of CJI Ramana, Justice Surya Kant and Justice Bopanna heard the request of urgent hearing made by Senior Advocate Vikas Singh.

The Bench indicated that matter may be listed tomorrow before Justice Nageswara Rao's Bench. However it later said that it will consider when the case is to be listed and Counsels will be informed regarding the same.

The request was made for urgent hearing of the application filed by Delhi Jal Board seeking direction to States of Punjab and Haryana to immediately cease the discharge of untreated pollutants causing rise in ammonia levels into the River Yamuna, and to ensure supply of enough water from Haryana to the NCT of Delhi

"If it hadn't been such an urgency, i wouldn't have asked." Sr Adv Vikas Singh said.

"Tomorrow. Let me see" CJI said.

Sr Adv Shyam Divan appearing for respondent State of Haryana stated that he doesn't see any urgency in the matter, and asked the court to consider listing it day after tomorrow instead.

The Bench inquired if the case is being heard by Justice Nageswara Rao's Bench. Sr Adv Vikas Singh answered in the affirmative.

"Let us see, how we're going to adjust. We will inform you" Bench said

The bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao, AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian has been hearing the plea by Delhi seeking appropriate directions to the state of Haryana over discharge of untreated pollutants, in view of the increased concentration of ammonia in the river water of Yamuna.

The Bench had on April 19th appointed a committee to conduct local inspection with regard to the quality and quantity of water released by the state of Haryana at Balla , the level of the Wazirabad bank and whether the Delhi government is diverting the water to the Water Treatment Plants at Wazirabad, Chandrawal and Okhla before the water reaches the Wazirabad bank.

In view of the urgency of the matter, the bench had required the committee to conduct the inspection within three days time and to submit a report to the court. The matter was to be listed on 23rd April.

The Delhi Jal Board through an Interlocutory Application , has sought an interim direction to the States of Punjab and Haryana to immediately cease the discharge of untreated pollutants causing rise in ammonia levels into the River Yamuna.

The application has also sought directions to ensure that enough water is supplied by the State of Haryana to the NCT of Delhi to maintain the level of the Wazirabad barrage at 674.50 feet in terms of the order passed by Supreme Court in Delhi Water Supply & Sewage Disposal Undertaking v. State of Haryana, which will reduce the high concentration of ammonia in the water.

Delhi Jal Board's application has stated that the NCT of Delhi is potentially facing

severe water crisis due to the twin factors of high ammonia levels in the waters of the River Yamuna, and continuously depleting water level at Wazirabad barrage, which supplies drinking water to the Wazirabad and Chandrawal water treatment plants.

According to the petitioner, non- release of sufficient water by the Haryana is in violation of Supreme Court's order in Delhi Water Supply & Sewage Disposal Undertaking & Anr. v. State of Haryana when the Court had directed it to supply as much water as was required to maintain the pond level at Wazirabad Reservoir at full.

The applicant has argued that the problem is further compounded by the reduced flow of water in the Delhi Sub-Branch (DSB) and Carrier-Lined Channel (CLC), which hampers the ability of the Delhi Jal Board and the NCT of Delhi to sufficiently dilute the ammonia levels in the waters of the Yamuna to below 0.9 ppm so as to enable their effective treatment by the water treatment plants of the Petitioner.

The applicant has stated that no action by the States has lead to a situation where the water supplied for drinking water purposes to the NCT of Delhi is completely unfit for use without significant dilution. Due to a shortage of water in the Delhi Sub-Branch and Carrier Lined Channel as well, it has proved impossible to dilute the water at Wazirabad barrage to bring it below 0.9 ppm, to ensure that it can be effectively treated by water treatment plants in the NCT of Delhi.

"Consequently, production at Wazirabad, Chandrawal and Okhla water treatment plants is at 60 percent capacity, and the NCT of Delhi faces the prospect of a severe water crisis just as summer sets in." the Application has stated.

Delhi Jal Board has therefore, through the application sought urgent intervention of the Supreme Court to ensure that the NCT of Delhi has access to enough drinking water to avert a crisis of the most severe nature.

The application has been filed by Advocate Shadan Farasat on behalf of the Delhi Jal Board.

During the previous hearing before a Justice Nageswara Rao Bench, Senior Advocate Vikas Singh appearing for the Delhi Jal Board, had suggested that a Committee be appointed by the top Court to find out the actual situation relating to release of water by the State of Haryana.

Amicus Curiae Meenakshi Arora had submitted that the Central Monitoring Committee is looking into the matters relating to the adequate water supply to Delhi through Yamuna River, and it is necessary to find out whether the States of Haryana and Delhi have been complying with the recommendations made by the Central Monitoring Committee, headed by Secretary, Ministry of Jal Shakti.


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