Saturday, May 26, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Haryana farmers throng Takht
Seek help in SYL completion
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 25
Hundreds of women, children and elderly persons from the adjoining state of Haryana today thronged Akal Takht under the banner of the Bharatiya Kisan Union. They demanded that Takht should ask the Badal government to complete the Sutlej-Yamuna link canal.

The state leaders of the BKU, Haryana, alleged that the non-completion of the SYL had resulted in a number of suicides in the state as the farmers could not repay loans because their fertile lands had turned barren due to it.

They said that the political parties of Haryana had failed to take up the case with Central and Punjab Governments. Hence, they were forced to approach Akal Takht for issuing directions to the Badal government on ‘humanitarian grounds’.

The Haryana unit of the BKU, pledged to launch a movement for a ‘mahan Punjab’ in order to resolve all inter-state issues. They said with the formation of ‘mahan Punjab’, issues like the inter-state river waters, transfer of Chandigarh and other Punjabi-speaking areas to Punjab would be automatically resolved. The BKU leaders claimed that with the completion of the SYL, the Sikh farmers of Haryana would benefit the most. It was in the national interest that the SYL be completed at the earliest. Its non-completion had resulted in flashfloods in Punjab, which claimed a number of lives in the state.

Mr H.S. Khokhar, state president, BKU, Mr Palwinder Singh, advocate, Mr Balwinder Singh Bajwa, senior vice-president, state unit, and Mr Udhey Ram, an Arjuna awardee and president Sir Chhotu Ram Kisan unit, Haryana, were among those who participated in the ‘ardas’ performed at Akal Takht.

The Haryana farmers also submitted a memorandum to Akal Takht. Since Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti is on a foreign tour, the representation of the BKU was received by Mr Prithipal Singh, personal assistant to Jathedar, Akal Takht. The farmers said that more than 31 lakh hectares in Haryana had turned barren due to the non-completion of the SYL and it was a great national loss.

The BKU, Haryana, expressed full faith in the Sikh clergy in resolving the issue. The leaders said that they had approached the ‘highest temporal seat’ and the issue would be resolved now.

It is for the first time that somebody from Haryana has approached Akal Takht for the completion of the inter-state dispute. However, sources say that Akal Takht is unlikely to intervene in the matter.

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