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'What action have you taken against tanker mafia,' SC asks Delhi govt on water crisis

A bench of Justices Prashant Kumar Mishra and Prasanna B Varale told the Delhi government to file an affidavit about the measures undertaken to control water loss, saying the court may ask the Delhi police to lodge an FIR in the matter.
Last Updated : 12 June 2024, 07:09 IST

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday said the Delhi government has not been able to control the 'tanker mafia' here, resulting in water shortage in the national capital, already reeling under severe heatwave conditions.

A bench of Justices Prashant Kumar Mishra and Prasanna B Varale told the Delhi government to file an affidavit about the measures undertaken to control water loss, saying the court may ask the Delhi police to lodge an FIR in the matter.

The top court also pulled up the Himachal Pradesh government for earlier claiming the availability of 137 cusecs of additional water but subsequently saying that the water was already flowing in the barrage.

"We passed the order based on a statement made previously. We should straightaway send the officer to jail as now an affidavit says the excess water is already flowing," the bench told the Advocate General of Himachal Pradesh.

"If you are already releasing the water and it is coming from Himachal Pradesh, why was a false statement made," the bench further asked the HP counsel.

The bench asked the Delhi government, represented by senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, "Have you taken any action against the tanker mafia, which engulfed the water? People are suffering. We see visuals on (TV) channels. What measures have you taken, since this is a recurring problem? Have you taken any action or lodged an FIR to check loss or pilferage?."

Singhvi said he would be happy if Delhi Police take action in the matter. He also said some of those tankers are from the Delhi Jal Board and are being used to supply water to the affected localities.

The court asked the Delhi government to file an affidavit about action taken in this regard and scheduled the matter for hearing on June 13.

Senior advocate Shyam Divan, appearing for the Haryana government, submitted a report, stating that there was a 52.35% loss of water.

Singhvi, on his part, alleged that Haryana has been very obstructive in its approach. "No state in India has been so obstructive as Haryana," he claimed.

The court was considering the compliance of its order passed on June 6 for the supply of water by Himachal Pradesh to Delhi.

Acting on a writ petition filed by the Delhi government, the Supreme Court had directed the Himachal Pradesh government to release 137 cusecs surplus water available with it to Delhi given the acute drinking water shortage and prevailing heatwave conditions here.

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Published 12 June 2024, 07:09 IST

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