A proposal to shut down the Nangal Hydel Channel for one month for repairs and maintenance has set off alarm bells ringing in the top brass of the Kejriwal government. The Nangal Hydel Channel is responsible for 25% of the land locked capital’s water supply from the Beas River.
The Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB), which was constituted under the Punjab reorganisation Act 1966 and comes under the Union Jal Shakti Ministry, is going to shut down the Nangal Hydel Channel for one month to undertake repairs, Delhi Jal Board Vice Chairman, Raghav Chadha said.
Chadha said, “We are being told that the central government is about to shut water supply from the Beas River to Delhi for one month. The Central government is about to undertake some repair work. The complete closure of the Nangal Hydel Channel, due to which the supply of water from the Beas River that constitutes 25% of Delhi’s total water supply will be affected.”
Apart from the waters of the Beas, Delhi also relies on water from rivers Yamuna and Ganga, and groundwater. Delhi does not have water bodies of its own to meet the needs of its people.
The DJB Vice President warned that if Delhi does not receive the 232 million gallons per day (MGD) water to which it is legally entitled, it would trigger “acute distress, law and order situation” and create a huge water crisis in Delhi.
Chadha disclosed that a senior official of the Haryana government had written a letter to all stakeholders on February 12, informing that from March 25 to April 24, the Nangal Hydel Channel would be shut.
Chadha pointed out that summer would be knocking on the doors of Delhi by then, the requirement of the water in the capital shoots up to 1,000 to 1,200 MGD.
The Delhi government has sought an urgent meeting with the Union Jal Shakti Minister, along with all other stakeholders to place its point of view that there could be a water crisis in Delhi.
The Delhi Jal Board has shot off a letter on February 19, to the central government, the Haryana government and BBMB requesting for a rescheduling of the planned repair work so that Delhi’s water supply is not affected. A shortfall of 232 MDG of water could affect the supply to many important places such as Rashtrapati Bhavan, Parliament, the Prime Minister’s residence, the Supreme Court, and embassies.
The DJB Vice Chairman said that the ‘blind closure’ rarely happened in the past.
Asked whether a final decision has already been taken on this, Chadha said, “This letter says that we are seeking your views as well as your consent and once we receive that we will go ahead with it. But we have learned through our sources that the government may go ahead with it despite the lack of consent on the part of any stake holder also.”