Atishi begins fast over Delhi not getting its ‘rightful share’ of water | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times

Atishi begins fast over Delhi not getting its ‘rightful share’ of water

ByAlok KN Mishra
Jun 22, 2024 12:49 AM IST

The Haryana government has refuted the allegation repeatedly and called it “baseless and factually incorrect

Delhi water minister Atishi began her indefinite fast over the prevailing water shortfall in the Capital on Friday afternoon, continuing her allegation that Haryana was not providing adequate water to Delhi.

AAP leaders at Rajghat on Friday. (HTPhoto)
AAP leaders at Rajghat on Friday. (HTPhoto)

“Despite every effort, the Haryana government is not providing adequate water to Delhi. Mahatma Gandhi has taught that if one has to fight against injustice, one must adopt the path of Satyagraha,” Atishi said.

Delhi water crisis: Atishi begins fast for more water from Haryana

The Haryana government has refuted the allegation repeatedly and called it “baseless and factually incorrect”. On Thursday, the Haryana government said that the state has been providing 1,050 cusecs of water to the national capital over the stipulated 719 cusecs.

Haryana’s irrigation and water resources minister, Abhe Singh Yadav, said that the Delhi government’s allegation on water supply was “unfounded and misleading”. “The Delhi government is creating political drama around the water issue... Haryana treats water as a necessity, not a political tool. Delhi’s water shortage is due to internal mismanagement rather than Haryana’s supply,” said Yadav.

Before beginning her fast, Atishi went to chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence around 10.45am and met his family. Thereafter, Atishi, along with the CM’s wife Sunita Kejriwal, and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders Sanjay Singh, Saurabh Bharadwaj, Imran Hussain and others, visited Rajghat. From Rajghat, the AAP leaders went to Bhogal, where Atishi began her fast in the presence of party leaders. During the indefinite fast, Atishi will only have water and not eat anything, people aware of the matter said.

During her speech at Bhogal, the minister said that Delhi should get 1,005 million gallons per day (mgd) of water daily but Haryana has been giving 513 mgd over the last two weeks, instead of its share of 613 mgd.

“Delhi is dependent on neighbouring states for water... I made every effort to get Delhi’s rightful share of water, but the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government of Haryana did not give it... I also wrote a letter to the Prime Minister and requested him to get Delhi’s rightful share of water from the Haryana government. But instead of getting relief, for the last two days, the Haryana government has stopped 120 mgd of Delhi’s rightful share. That is why I had to sit on an indefinite hunger strike,” Atishi said.

Responding to the minister’s allegations, Delhi BJP MP Bansuri Swaraj said the AAP minister started fasting in an attempt to cover up her “inaction”.

“Atishi is an unsuccessful water minister. It was clear since February this year that Delhi would endure a long summer, but she made no preparations. Why did the Delhi Jal Board not prepare a summer action plan in March this year, and why, despite discussions, did they not make full preparations even after the Met department’s warnings of intense heat? Can Atishi cite a single instance where she has worked to stop water leakage and theft?They result in 52% of pure water being wasted,” said Swaraj.

Meanwhile, the brief spell of rain did not improve the water shortfall and the supply to the city dropped to the season’s lowest level at 888 mgd — below the 900mgd-mark for the first time this year, according to the water production report issued by the Delhi Jal Board on Friday.

Several areas in Delhi have been facing an acute water shortfall over the last few weeks, primarily due to raw water shortage that has hindered water production at Delhi’s water treatment plants. The problem has been exacerbated by the intense heatwave that has tightened its grip in parts of northwest India.

The minister said that a drop in 100 mgd affects around 2.8 million people in Delhi. She alleged that the delegation from Delhi went to Chandigarh to hold talks with Haryana, which also turned out to be futile.

“All the senior officials of the Delhi government went to Chandigarh to meet the Haryana officials and ask for water, but even then the Haryana government did not agree... far from getting water, Haryana has stopped even more water in the last two days,” Atishi added.

The Haryana government had said that according to the data between May 23 and June 12, 2024, Haryana supplied 1,050 cusecs of water from the Munak Head to the Bawana point, surpassing the Upper Yamuna River Board’s (UYRB) mandate of 719 cusecs. “The Delhi government should focus on rectifying its mismanagement instead of making unfounded accusations against Haryana,” Yadav had said.

‘Our culture to provide water’: Kejriwal's message from jail as Atishi sits on indefinite hunger strike

Meanwhile, Sunita Kejriwal, who accompanied Atishi to Rajghat, read out a message on behalf of her husband and expressed solidarity with the minister.

“This time the whole country is experiencing severe heat... it has been our culture that people offer free water to the thirsty during summer... but Delhi’s neighbouring states do not believe this. We had hoped that we would get more support from the neighbouring states during this difficult time, but... the Haryana government has reduced the daily supply of water to Delhi... Where should the people of Delhi go?” Sunita Kejriwal said, quoting Kejriwal.

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