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Posted at: Apr 21, 2017, 2:13 AM; last updated: Apr 21, 2017, 3:18 PM (IST)DELHI MEET

Punjab asks Centre to intervene on SYL

Says it is not state’s issue but that of nation
Punjab asks Centre to intervene on SYL
Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh greets Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Thursday. Tribune photo

Ravi S Singh

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 20

Punjab and Haryana today stuck to their well-entrenched positions on the sharing of riverwaters and the construction of the Satluj-Yamuna Link canal at a meeting called by Water Resources Secretary Amarjit Singh here to end the logjam. 

Both Punjab Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh and Haryana Chief Secretary DS Dhesi reiterated their stand during their meeting with the Secretary. Punjab apprised the Union Government of the critical water situation in the state and stressed its inability to share waters with neighbouring states, including Haryana. It urged the Narendra Modi government to intervene to save the state from an “ecological disaster”. 

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The Punjab team was called for the meeting first. Meanwhile, the Haryana team waited for about an hour in the room adjoining the Secretary’s chamber. While the Haryana team met once, Punjab was given a second hearing.

Talking to mediapersons later, Dhesi said the meeting was a follow-up to an all-party memorandum submitted by Haryana’s political parties to President Pranab Mukherjee, seeking early completion of the remaining part of the SYL canal. He pointed out that all judicial and tribunal rulings had been in favour of Haryana. Karan Avtar Singh said Punjab had urged the Modi government to intervene and save Punjab from a possible ecological disaster. “The Secretary assured us that Punjab’s interest would be  taken care of. 

“It is not Punjab’s issue but that of the nation. Water resources in the country must be used judiciously, and in a scientific manner,” he said. The Union Secretary had been told that only 28 per cent of Punjab’s land was canal-irrigated and that the state was in urgent need of expansion of its canal system to prevent a water crisis. If the SYL was constructed, an estimated 10 lakh acres of land in Punjab would go dry, he said.

Punjab and Haryana are locked in a dispute over the sharing of Ravi-Beas waters for decades. While Haryana wants its share, as was decided when the state was carved out of Punjab along with Himachal Pradesh, successive Punjab governments have refused to share water. The dispute on SYL is pending in the Supreme Court. The case will come up for next hearing on April 27.


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