UP threatens to cut off water to Delhi unless pollution stopped

Uttar Pradesh has issued a notice to the Delhi government that it will cut off water supplies to the National Capital Region if the state, now ruled by Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Admi Party, fails to check the outflow of 16 drains that open into the Yamuna and converge into the Ganges River, polluting both rivers.

This time however, the move initiated by the by the Samajwadi Party-ruled Uttar Pradesh seems to have nothing to do with the power play of the AAP that are making daily headlines; the issue is the laudable one of preventing the shocking pollution of India's lifeline rivers.

"We had taken up the issue with the (Congress-led) Sheila Dixit government as well, but they never responded to repeated reminders. Now, a new government is in place. We hope it will respond positively towards our reminders and avoid any crisis situation in the days to come," Shivpal Yadav, UP's minister of irrigation, public works and cooperatives, told newspersons in Lucknow on Sunday.

Yadav alleged that Delhi was emptying its drains in rivers flowing into Uttar Pradesh, polluting the water reaching several districts of the state. He said the dirty water should be cleaned first before being emptied into the rivers.

The worst affected by the polluted water flowing from Delhi to UP were Agra and Mathura districts, he added.

Asked about what the state government itself was doing with regards to preventing pollution of the Ganga, Jumuna, and Gomti rivers, Shivpal said the government had already launched a scheme for rehabilitating tanneries out of Kanpur because they have been identified as one of the major polluters of the Ganges, apart from other projects.

"These are huge and ambitious projects worth an estimated Rs 30,000 crore but it will surely change the drinking water scenario in Uttar Pradesh, apart from helping to conserve water sources in the state," he said, adding that the state had written to the centre in this regard.

On the notice to Delhi, Yadav said, "The state government has issued a notice on 7 February in which we have clarified our stance on the issue. We have been working hard to check pollution in the Ganga but that will go awaste if Delhi continues to empty its drains into the Yamuna which eventually converges into the Ganga.

''Not one, not two, there are at least 16 main drains opening into the Yamuna.