The longstanding tussle over water-sharing between Haryana and Delhi is far from over. Haryana’s sudden decision not to release an additional 80 million gallons of water a day (MGD) through the recently completed Munak Canal has upset Delhi’s plans.
Unable to get Haryana to relent, Delhi has now gone knocking at the Centre’s doors.
Sources told The Hindu on Monday that a meeting was chaired by the Union Cabinet Secretary on the issue earlier this month, which was followed by a meeting of the Chief Secretaries of both States. The issue is now expected to be discussed at a higher level.
“A meeting of very senior officials of the Central Government is likely to be held soon. Though it is yet to be scheduled, the matter could even be handed over to a Group of Ministers,” said sources.
Referring to the differences between the two States, sources said: “It has been a very difficult situation for Delhi. The canal was constructed by Haryana with money that Delhi released. All along it was understood that the canal that has cost upward of Rs.315 crore will bring an additional quantum of water for Delhi. Now that the canal is complete, Haryana has put a spanner in the works. It claims that there is no mention of 80 MGD of water to be released to Delhi in the memorandum of understanding signed by the two States. Haryana wants Delhi to make do with what will be additionally available to it (the quantity that was otherwise lost to seepage),” said sources.
Funded by Delhi
The 102-km canal was built by Haryana between the Haryana border and Haiderpur in Delhi to cut down water losses due to seepage.
The multi-crore project ran into bad weather when construction work was halted because of delay in obtaining clearance certificates from the Centre for removal of nearly 7,000 trees that fell on its banks.
“Delhi has been banking on the Munak to ease its water woes. The additional 80 MGD was meant for the Okhla and Bawana water treatment plants (20 MGD each) and 40 MGD for Dwarka. Delhi has always reasoned with Haryana that its demand for water is for drinking purposes, therefore there cannot be any compromises. Haryana’s own drinking needs are far less than their irrigation requirements. Also, Delhi being the national Capital, the other States are required to show more commitment towards the city’s needs,” sources said.