NEW DELHI: Leaders and workers of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Delhi unit staged a protest near Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence in the Civil Lines area here on Friday over the water crisis in the national capital.
Led by Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta, the protesters raised anti-government slogans.
Gupta, Leader of Opposition in Delhi Assembly Ramvir Singh Bidhuri and others first gathered at the Chandgi Ram Akhara near Ring Road and then marched towards the CM’s residence on Flagstaff Road.
The protesters were stopped around 500 metres from the chief minister’s house by police, a BJP leader said.
Addressing the gathering, Gupta alleged that schemes for water production and distribution announced in the last seven years have not yet started.
The Delhi government is responsible for the water crisis in the city as it is in connivance with the tanker mafia, the BJP leader claimed.
“The Delhi government, which came to power with the promise to finish the tanker mafia in the city, is now minting money in connivance with them. Piped water supply is not being given in Delhi colonies so that the tanker mafia could flourish,” Gupta said.
A group of Delhi Congress workers staged a demonstration outside Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence here over water shortage and supply of dirty drinking water in the national capital.
It was led by Delhi Congress president Anil Kumar.
“For the past two months, Delhiites have been bearing severe water shortage, but the Delhi chief minister has been touring other states promising ‘free power and water’, though he has not been able to address the water shortage in Delhi for the past seven years.
“The Delhi Jal Board, which was running on profits when Congress was in power, is now under Rs 57,000 crore debt, which was the ‘contribution’ of the Kejriwal government,” Kumar said in a statement issued by the party.
According to the statement, Congress workers had assembled at Parmanand hospital in Civil Lines before marching towards the chief minister’s residence, but the police halted them midway on Kejriwal’s direction.
The CM also refused to meet a Congress delegation to listen to their water woes, it added.
During the protest, Congress workers shouted anti-Delhi government slogans like “Kejriwal Ka Yahi Fanda Hai, Rajdhani Ka Paani Ganda Hai”, “Beemari Nahi Paani Do, Dilli Ko Swachh Paani Do” and “Dilli Ki Dukhad Kahani, Peene Ke Liye Ganda Paani”, and carried placards and banners to express their ire.
Prominent Congress members who participated in the demonstration include former MLAs Mateen Ahmed, Anil Bhardwaj, Vijay Lochav, Kunwar Karan Singh, Rajesh Jain, Amrish Gautam and Darshana Ramkumar, DPCC vice-presidents Abhishek Dutt and Ali Mehndi, Delhi Pradesh Mahila Congress president Amrita Dhawan, Delhi Pradesh Youth Congress president Ranvijay Singh, and municipal councillors Sushila Khorwal, Darshana Yatav, and Zubair Ahmed.
Delhi Jal Board (DJB) vice chairman Raghav Chadha on Friday said the water level at the Wazirabad pond, one of the most important reservoirs in the capital, has increased from 667 feet to 674.5 feet, with Haryana releasing the city’s legitimate share of water.
Chadha, who took stock of the situation at the Wazirabad Barrage on Friday, said 16,000 cusec water, which was released by the neighbouring state three days ago, has reached Delhi and the water treatment plants in the capital are operating at optimum levels.
“I salute the people of Delhi for their struggle. DJB along with the people of Delhi – finally managed to compel Haryana to release Delhi’s rightful share of water in Yamuna, to the tune of 16,000 cusec,” he tweeted.
“As a result, all our water treatment plants are now operating at optimum levels, and @DelhiJalBoard is working 24×7 to clean, filter & supply water to every household in Delhi,” Chadha said.
Now, the Wazirabad pond is full, water level is back at 674.5 ft as against 667 ft.Things are normalizing, he added.
The water from Wazirabad pond is drawn for treatment at Wazirabad, Okhla and Chandrawal treatment plants.
The treated water is then supplied to central, south and west Delhi.
According to Chadha, water levels of the Yamuna at the Wazirabad Barrage had hit the lowest mark in 56 years on Monday, with Haryana withholding Delhi’s legitimate share of water.
Delhi grappled with a water crisis with Haryana withholding at least 120 MGD water that belonged to the city, he had said.
The DJB had on Sunday moved the Supreme Court, seeking directions to Haryana to release the capital’s share of water.
The utility supplies 935 MGD of water to city residents against the demand of 1,150 MGD.
At present, Delhi has been receiving 479 MGD against 609 MGD from Haryana.
Besides, Delhi draws 90 MGD groundwater and receives 250 MGD from the Upper Ganga Canal.