Wednesday, August 22, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Meeting on SYL deadlocked
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 21
The meeting of top officials of Punjab and Haryana called by the Centre to iron out a solution on the SYL canal issue ended in a deadlock with Punjab refusing to dilute its earlier position in any manner on sharing of waters with Haryana.

The meeting convened by the Commissioner, Indus Water, Mr A.C. Gupta, failed to make any headway with the Punjab Irrigation Secretary, Ms Surjit Kaur Sandhu opposing the construction of the SYL canal even as her Haryana counterpart, Mr Chander Singh pleaded in its favour, sources said.

After a two-hour-long deliberation, the participants at the meeting were of the view that the issue could not be resolved at the bureaucratic level and could only be resolved at the political level, sources said.

The officials from Haryana, who included the head of the Engineering Department, Mr R K Alahawadi, and the Executive Engineer Mr Anil Goswami, wanted the speedy construction of the SYL canal and the release of Haryana’s “due share” of water from Punjab.

Expectedly, Punjab struck to its earlier position on the issue and maintained that Haryana had no right over Punjab waters as per the riparian rules and hence no water could be given to it through the SYL canal.

Today’s meeting was held in the light of the direction given by the Supreme Court to arrive at a negotiated settlement on the issue.

Reserving the judgement on the river waters dispute between Punjab and Haryana, the Apex Court on August 9 had directed both states and the Union Government to resolve the issue within a month. If the matter was not resolved, the Supreme court would announce its decision.

Meanwhile, highly placed sources told The Tribune that Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee might call a meeting of the Chief Ministers of Punjab and Haryana in a week or 10 days to arrive at an amicable solution to the issue.

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