River waters: Need for reciprocity

Apropos of the report “Haryana has legitimate claim on waters” (Feb 9), Mr A.N. Malhotra has included Haryana in the Indus Basin states. However, this is not correct as Haryana is not even riparian state to any of the three Punjab rivers. The issue of Haryana being a successor state is not disputed. But if it wants to share the Ravi-Beas river waters on that basis, how come Punjab was not considered for allocation of waters when the surface flow assets of the Yamuna river were distributed between UP, Haryana, Delhi and Rajasthan? There should have been reciprocity in sharing of all the rivers that were part of Punjab before its reorganisation.

The Punjab government has rightly asked for an independent new tribunal which should be apart from Haryana qua Rajasthan. The 1955 water allocation policy should be reopened overriding the Eradi Commission allocation since the surplus Ravi-Beas profile has drastically come down to 15.2 MAF (below 1995 figures).

As Haryana has only 42.07 lakh acres of irrigated area as against Punjab’s 67.77 lakh acres, it should adjust itself from its own riparian resource of the Yamuna river together with a supplementation from the Sharda link. Why waste 700 to 800 crores of public money in repairing, re-building and completing the Sutlej-Yamuna Link canal from its present ravished condition in Punjab?

B.S. SANDHU, Former Chief Engineer (Canals), Patiala




Apropos of the report “Expert disputes Haryana claim on Punjab river water” (Feb 7), I agree with Mr Pritam Singh Kumedan’s observation that water is a State subject and only the riparian state is competent to enact all legislations concerning water of the river flowing through its territory. I, however, do not agree that river waters are immovable property. A river is a free bounty of nature for the riparian State, even according to the international law.

The Central Government comes into the picture only in respect of the inter-state rivers and river valleys. The Ravi-Beas rivers are in no way inter-state rivers as they are flowing exclusively through the territory of Punjab. To say that the Indus water treaty has taken away the riparian rights of Punjab is a travesty of truth.

Initially, the Ravi and Beas Waters Tribunal Ordinance was promulgated in 1986 to provide for a tribunal for verifying the quantum of water claimed by the farmers of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan from the Ravi-Beas waters as on July 1, 1985, and the waters used for consumptive purposes and for adjudication of the claims of Punjab and Haryana. The Inter-State Water Disputes (Amendment) Act, 1986, was passed in this connection, repealing the Ordinance.

This (Amendment) Act has not been challenged in the court. Setting up of the Eradi Tribunal under this (Amendment) Act can be got declared illegal only by challenging it in the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the Supreme Court and getting it quashed.

G.R. KALRA, Former Chief Engineer, Chandigarh


I agree with your view in the editorial “Back to SYL again” (Feb 12) that political leaders in both Punjab and Haryana should exercise restraint and avoid raising public passions by ranking up the dispute in public. They should instead apply their mind in finding a solution to the problem.

In this regard, we should look at the pre-reorganisation state of Punjab and the reorganised states of Punjab and Haryana, study the available and expected water position and redistribute the water resources. The services of a World Bank expert may be requisitioned for the study. Till then, the ongoing cases in the court and the commission be put on hold.

Dr G.S. DHILLON, Former Chief Engineer (Research), Punjab, Chandigarh

Rectify the anomaly

The fixed medical allowance to government employees and pensioners in Himachal Pradesh being paid now is just Rs 40 a month though the state is committed to follow, as a matter of policy, the Punjab pattern of pay scales and allowances to its employees and pensioners.

Unlike their counterparts in Himachal Pradesh, government employees and pensioners in Punjab have been getting Rs 250 a month as medical allowance for a long time. Why this wide disparity in medical allowance between Punjab and Himachal Pradesh? Isn’t it unjust and unfair?

TARA CHAND, Ambota (Una)

US in quagmire

Reports in “Washington Post” about Pakistan’s sale of nuclear know-how to Iran and subsequent developments, the apology and clemency drama enacted by Dr A.Q. Khan and General Musharraf in particular, are causing embarrassment to Pakistan. Being an undaunted ally, Pakistan expects the US to come to its rescue. This has put the US in an awkward position. The possibility of bigger disclosures by Dr Khan, if interrogated by the US, cannot be ruled out at this stage.

Saddam Hussain in custody, the continued violence in Iraq, persistent 9/11-like threats are all responsible for the popularity graphs of US and UK leaderships dipping. The US, in particular, finds itself in a quagmire.

The world should not be surprised if President Musharraf, to drown Dr Khan’s clemency, suddenly produces Osama bin Laden to the US one day. Nevertheless, the US must confront the reality that as Pakistan has done more to threaten American and global security, it should deal with it sternly.

Lt-Col BACHITTAR SINGH (retd), Mohali

Jobs for Punjab youth

The most important thing eluding the attention of Punjab Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh is the mounting unemployment problem in the state. He has not taken any step to tackle this problem. Perhaps he does not know that a doctor and an engineer get Rs 3,000 and Rs 2,000 a month respectively in this most prosperous state, that too, with “sifarish”. Isn’t it a cruel joke? How much salary do the Chief Minister’s driver, security guard and peon get and what are their qualifications? How much hard work a student has to put in to get MBBS or BE degree? Apparently, Raja Sahib does not know answers to these questions.

The energies of the unemployed youth should be channelised properly and constructively. The Chief Minister should do something expeditiously.

Dr NARESH RAJ, Patiala


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