Have you taken action against tanker mafia, SC asks Delhi govt

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New Delhi, June 12 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Wednesday came down heavily on the Delhi government for not acting against tanker mafias in the city and cautioned that it would ask the Delhi Police for action to mitigate the water crisis in the national capital.

“If water is coming from Himachal Pradesh, where is the water going in Delhi? Have you taken any action or measures against these tanker mafias? There are reports that tanker mafias are working in Delhi and water is engulfed by them and you are not taking any action. If you are not taking any action, we will hand it over to Delhi Police to crackdown on tanker mafias,” a vacation bench presided over by Justice P.K. Mishra told the Delhi government.

The Bench, also comprising Justice V.B. Parale, wondered how the water is supplied through tankers to the common public when pipelines are dry and empty.

“If this water crisis is a recurring problem every summer, what measures have you taken to control the loss of water coming from Yamuna? File an affidavit containing action taken from May-June, 2023 to April 2024 to prevent loss of water. Any FIR against any tanker mafia or illegal transportation of water?” it asked.

In response, the counsel representing the Delhi government said that Delhi Jal Board (DJB) is supplying water through tankers and most of the visuals reported in media are related to water supply by DJB tankers in lower economic households.

“We will file all the material by today itself. There are multiple actions, including massive disconnection. We will be more than happy to have the police take action,” added the city government’s counsel.

During the hearing, the apex court also questioned the state of Himachal Pradesh for making a “false” statement that it has excess water in reservoirs.

It asked the Advocate General representing Himachal Pradesh, “If you are already releasing it, why was it not made known to the Upper Yamuna River Board? The other day, your Additional Advocate General said that this document (pertaining to 137 cusecs surplus water) was produced before the Board. Why are false statements made in the top court?”

Posting the matter for hearing on June 13, the SC asked the Delhi government to file an affidavit regarding the prevention of loss of water and allowed other parties to file additional affidavits if they so desired.

In the previous hearing, the top court came down heavily on the city government for taking the court proceedings for granted and turned furious after it was pointed out that the respondents (Union, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh governments) could not have e-filed the status reports/compliance affidavits in terms of the order of the apex court due to non-curing of defects by the Delhi government’s side

“We will dismiss this petition. On the last date also, this was pointed out but you did not remove the defects. You do not take court proceedings for granted, howsoever important your case may be!” the SC had said.

The Supreme Court had directed the Himachal Pradesh government to release surplus water on June 7 so that it reaches the national capital “uninterruptedly” and is made available to the Delhiites for drinking purposes.

“We direct that Himachal Pradesh shall release 137 cusecs of surplus water available with it on Friday so that the water reaches Hathni Kund barrage and reaches Delhi through Wazirabad. As and when surplus water is released with prior information by the state of Himachal Pradesh, the state of Haryana shall facilitate the flow of surplus water so released,” it had ordered on June 6.



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