The Delhi High Court pulled up the Haryana government for not issuing any tenders till date for repair of the old sub-branch canal, which carries water to the national capital, despite payment of Rs 28.16 crore to it by the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) for the work.
It directed that the tender process and award of the work should be completed by June 15.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar was displeased with the fact that the neighbouring state had not yet encashed the cheques for the amount of Rs 28.16 crore though they were sent in March and directed it to immediately encash them.
No steps appear to have been taken since our last order of March 13,” the court observed and directed that the tender process and award of the work be completed at the earliest and not later than June 15 so that the authorities would be ready to commence repairs as soon as the monsoon hits Delhi.
The high court on March 13 had directed Haryana and Delhi to take steps to immediately carry out the repairs of the Delhi Sub-Branch Canal (DSBC).
The bench said any delay in commencing the work would lead to wastage of water which would be really needed by the national capital.
It also said that non-encashment of the cheques was leading to the DJB having to maintain the amount in its account without getting any accrual or interest on the money which could have been spent on salaries.
Haryana said it had not encashed the cheques as DJB had also sent a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with it and the same had to be signed before the amount could be encashed.
The state also said that there was still time to carry out the tender process as the repairs can be carried out only after the monsoon hit the capital which was expected to be on or after July 1.
The DJB on the other hand refuted the allegation and claimed that the neighbouring state was not signing the MoU because it has no intention of repairing the canal as any water saved would accrue to the benefit of the national capital.
It also said the monsoon could reach Delhi around the middle of June.
After hearing both the sides, the bench directed the Haryana government to forthwith encash the amount and immediately commence the process of issuing tenders for the repair work as there was no certainty regarding arrival of monsoon.
The court was hearing a PIL moved by advocate S B Tripathi who has said that the population in Delhi was increasing each day, but the raw water available to the city was same or even decreasing.
Tripathi has also moved a fresh application seeking directions to DJB and Haryana to carry out 100 per cent concrete lining of the old DSBC, similar to Munak canal, to reduce seepage of water.
The plea has claimed that presently due to seepage, 50 per cent of the 330 cusec water released into DSBC by Haryana is lost and this wastage can be brought down to 5 per cent by concrete lining.