AAP vs Lt Governor after India Today sting on Delhi water tanker mafia

1 month ago 15

An India Today investigation revealed that borewells along the Munak Canal, which transports water from Haryana to Delhi, were being used to illegally provide industrial water.

Delhi water crisis

Residents collect drinking water at RK Puram in New Delhi. (Image: PTI)

Sreya Chatterjee

New Delhi,UPDATED: Jun 12, 2024 23:32 IST

The ongoing water crisis in Delhi has escalated into a blame game between the Aam Aadmi Party-led city government and the Office of Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena, with both accusing each other of shielding the water tanker mafia and mismanagement even as residents continue to scramble for the supply.

An India Today investigation revealed that borewells along the Munak Canal, which transports water from Haryana to Delhi, were being used to illegally provide industrial water.

India Today's Special Investigation Team (SIT) exposed the illegal borewell operations which are rampant near the Munak Canal's Delhi Sub branch.

During a sting operation, a tanker mafia revealed that he can supply water on a daily basis at a cost of Rs 1,200 for 5,000 litres. He also said that these rates differ from area to area.

AAP ON INDIA TODAY STING OPERATION

Delhi Water Minister Atishi reacted to India Today's sting operation on water mafia in the city and requested the LG to deploy an assistant commissioner of police-level officer to patrol the stretch of the Munak Canal in Delhi to ensure that no illegal water-filling activity takes place.

"An ACP level police officer should be deployed to patrol the stretch of Munak Canal in Delhi to ensure that no illegal water filling activity happens there," Atishi said in a letter to Saxena.

The AAP leader also alleged that senior officials colluded with the mafia to reduce the number of Delhi Jal Board tankers and demanded an inquiry into it.

"There is a need for an enquiry into the potential collusion by senior officers in the Delhi government with the tanker mafia because it seems that there has been a deliberate and substantial reduction of the tankers deployed by the Delhi Jal Board in the last one year," she claimed.

Additionally, Atishi also directed the quick response teams comprising additional district magistrates and sub-divisional magistrates to inspect major pipelines to prevent any leakages.

DELHI L-G OFFICE SLAMS AAP

Sources in the Delhi L-G Office said that the sting operation establishes the allegations of water mafia operating in the city. The L-G Office also accused Delhi Water Minister Atishi of issuing "perfunctory statements" after the mega expose was aired on the news channel, sources said.

"A sting operation carried out by a prominent news channel more than established the water mafia operating in the city, forcing a reluctant Water Minister, Atishi, till now in denial, to issue perfunctory statements," sources in the Delhi L-G office said.

"Yesterday, AAP Water Minister in Delhi, Atishi Marlena issued a patently and blatantly false statement, blaming Haryana for scarcity of water in Delhi and charged the Delhi LG with 'lies'. Convolutedly, she based her fanciful assertions on the affidavit filed by the Government of Haryana in the ongoing matter in this regard, in the Supreme Court," they added.

Saxena's office also claimed that the Haryana government has been continuously releasing the required water share to Delhi.

"On the allegation made by Delhi that Haryana has not been releasing Delhi's share of water, it is pertinent to mention that the State of Haryana has been continuously releasing the required share including the additional water (330 Cusecs) to Delhi from Munak Canal and not even a single day the quantum of water released has gone down below 1,050 Cusecs," according to the L-G Office.

The statement from VK Saxena's office came on the backdrop of Atishi's allegations that the Haryana government was deliberately and illegally halting the water supply to the capital. In a press conference, the AAP leader had alleged that the Haryana government was releasing less water to Delhi, rendering the city unable to meet its daily water needs.

The minister also slammed Delhi Lieutenant Governor for blaming the AAP government for the ill maintenance of water canals and theft of water supply by illegal tankers.

"L-G sahab has been exposed. He said the Munak canal is not maintained properly. The maintenance, repair, and security of the canal comes under the Haryana Irrigation Department. He also said water is being stolen from the canal. If all this is happening why doesn't he speak to Haryana CM? He only has one job, to blame the AAP government for everything," Atishi said.

LG DIRECTS DELHI POLICE FOR VIGIL

Meanwhile, VK Saxena directed the city police chief on Wednesday to ensure a strict vigil along the Munak Canal to prevent the theft of water, as the national capital grapples with a water crisis.

"Hon'ble Lt. Governor has desired that strict vigil/monitoring should be ensured along the Munak Canal to prevent from any further theft of water by tanker mafia and also catch hold of such persons who have been involved in such illegal activities in past and take necessary legal action against such mafia elements," a communication from the LG Secretariat said.

"A compliance report in this regard may be furnished within a week to this Secretariat for perusal of Hon'ble Lt. Governor," it added.

DELHI'S WATER DEMAND

Estimates indicate that Delhi's water demand is around 1,300 million gallons per day (MGD), but the Delhi Jal Board is only able to produce about 1,000 MGD.

Delhi depends heavily on neighboring states — Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh — for over 90 per cent of its drinking water supply. Approximately 40 per cent of this supply comes from sources like the Yamuna River, which is central to an ongoing dispute with Haryana.

Published By:

Sahil Sinha

Published On:

Jun 12, 2024