'Political leaders of Delhi have turned water crisis into opportunity': L-G slams AAP

The L-G's remarks came a day after Delhi Water Minister Atishi sat on an indefinite hunger strike demanding release of rightful share of water by Haryana.
Last Updated : 22 June 2024, 16:38 IST

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New Delhi: Delhi Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena on Saturday held the AAP government responsible for the prevailing water crisis in the city.

There was no immediate reaction from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

The "shrill discourse" of the Delhi ministers over the last few weeks has been distressing and questionable at various levels, Saxena said in his statement on the water crisis.

"Political leaders of Delhi have turned a crisis into an opportunity for blaming the neighbouring states with the sole aim of gaining political mileage. This polemical exercise has ended up compounding the problems of Delhi people and antagonizing the neighbouring states grappling with water scarcity," he charged.

The L-G's remarks came a day after Delhi Water Minister Atishi sat on an indefinite hunger strike demanding release of rightful share of water by Haryana.

Atishi has claimed Haryana was releasing 100 MGD less water in Yamuna for Delhi since last two weeks, affecting 28 lakh people in the city.

Delhi is dependent on drinking water supply from Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.

Interstate water sharing arrangements are settled through institutional mechanisms created by the Ministry of Jal Shakti, Government of India, upheld time and again by the highest court of the land, the L-G said.

"Unfortunately, neither has the city government, demonstrated seriousness in ensuring improvement in water networks and augmentation of capacity, nor has it chosen a path of dialogue," Saxena said.

Instead of trying to solve the issue in an amicable and cooperative manner, the AAP government resorted to a political game by blaming Haryana for not releasing water, he charged.

Referring to the existing water crisis, Saxena said heart rending scenes of people running after tankers and incidents of water shortage are not new in Delhi.

This has been happening year after year and every year, the same blame-game story is repeated by the government on social media and in press conferences, he added.

"It is saddening to see that the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government in Delhi has a single-minded obsession for soundbites. Accusations and abuse are hurled on individuals, other governments and institutions as a matter of routine," he alleged.

In times of adversity, goodwill matters - be it in interpersonal or institutional relations. This is the reason that Delhi finds itself "isolated and snubbed" even in times of dire need, Saxena pointed to the city failing to receive water from the neighbouring states.

"Even after remaining in power for 10 years, the AAP government did not add a single litre to the water treatment capacity, which it had inherited from its predecessor Sheila Dikshit government," the L-G said.

The supply and distribution network of pipelines are old and leaking, he said citing Delhi Economic Survey report that the unaccounted for water in Delhi is to the tune of 54 per cent out of which 40 per cent is wasted.

"A network of illegal tankers operated by tanker mafia under political patronage is bleeding the city. These facts have been indisputably reiterated in the recent minutes of the meeting of the Upper Yamuna River Board, where representatives of the AAP government were present," he said.

The Munak canal which supplies water to six out of the seven water treatment plants in Delhi but disrepair of canal lining is leading to losses ranging from 5 to 25 per cent between Kakroi in Haryana and Bawana in Delhi, he said.

The L-G said that he wrote to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in June last year for desilting of Wazirabad barrage as its pondage is filled up to 94 per cent by the river silt as it was not removed after 2013.

A simple calculation reveals that during the last decade, owing to the silting of the pondage area, Delhi allowed nearly 9,12,500 million gallons of water to literally flow down the river, he said.

"I find it strange that the politically elected government behaves as if it is in opposition in perpetuity. Its hostility spills over to its own officers, singularly to deflect attention from the inadequacy of its own political leadership," he charged referring to the tussle between the AAP dispensation and the bureaucracy.

Saxena said that he gave an "honest suggestion" to Chief Minister Kejriwal to have a fresh look at his advisors who seem to be "lacking in administrative acumen and professional competence", but it was ignored by him.

"Delhi is witnessing a travesty of governance, which is a mockery on the citizens," he alleged.

The L-G said the AAP government resorts to litigation against him as well as the Central government and other states and even its own departments.

Insisting on dialogue, discussion and delivery, Saxena said in a democracy, governance is an art of possibilities and a consistent endeavour to deliver for the people by building consensus.

Unfortunately, these have been given a go by in the case of Delhi over the last one decade, he added.

Published 22 June 2024, 16:38 IST

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