SYL: Need for equity, justice and fairplay

I have read with interest the editorial "SYL verdict" (June 7). As stated, the Supreme Court has given its measured and considered opinion on the vexatious issue.

However, an important fact has not been brought to the notice of the court or it has escaped its attention. Finalisation of the distribution of the Ravi-Beas waters is a condition precedent for the construction of the SYL. The judicial review of the distribution of waters is needed prior to the construction of the SYL. The capacity of the SYL is to be kept according to the design discharge to be passed through the canal. The discharge is to be passed on the share, if any, of Haryana in the Ravi-Beas waters.

I would request for speedy finalisation of the distribution of the Ravi-Beas waters before the start of the construction of the SYL.

Celebrations and the illumination of Haryana government buildings on the date of verdict by Supreme Court were ill-advised. Let the issue be not politicised. Let it be decided on the basis of equity, fairplay, justice and in accordance with the provisions of the Construction.

G.R. KALRA, Chief Engineer (retd), (Irrigation, Haryana), Chandigarh




The last paragraph of the editorial (June 7) states: “What should be remembered is that scarce water has been going waste all these years because of the bitter battle”. This is not correct. Any release below the Nangal pond is held up for diversion into the canal system by the Ropar Headworks and thereafter at Harike Headworks. Even seepage flow or leakage from the Harike Barrage, is caught at Hussenawala Headworks and used in the Eastern Canal/ Bikaner Canal. Consequently, not even a drop of water goes waste or flows to Pakistan.

It must be borne in mind that Haryana's share in the surplus Ravi-Beas waters is yet to be determined. As Punjab farmers are making best use of this water at present, it cannot be called as going waste.

I don't know why the Supreme Court is not entertaining petitions from individual farmers affected by the SYL canal project. Why should it say that such petitions (those from the farmers) be routed through the state government?

In a nutshell, water being used by the farmers of Doaba or Malwa region of Punjab should not be called as going waste.

Dr G.S. DHILLON, Chief Engineer (retd), (Irrigation, Punjab), Chandigarh


It is a pity that the SYL canal project has become a bone of contention between Punjab and Haryana. The dispute on the issue of its completion, on which Rs 700 crore have already been spent, and the share of water that is to flow through is not likely to be resolved in the near future. It has become an emotive issue and has been politicised so much that no ruling party in Punjab or Haryana can afford to budge from their stated rigid positions.

Admittedly, it has become a masterpiece of imperfection where sensible response is considered foolish. I may add it shall be interpreted as a political harakiri.

There are only two alternatives. First, hand over the entire gamut of completion of the SYL canal and assessment/ distribution of river water resources to a high-powered, independent and apolitical committee of professionals and experts from both states who should survey the legitimate needs of both states and formulate a mutually agreed optimum water utilisation plan keeping in view the interest of the two states.

The committee may also be asked to suggest alternative use of the already dug portion of the SYL canal, if previously planned alignment/ utilisation is found to be not useful or ecologically unfriendly to any one of the states. The decision so arrived at should be made binding on both states and should be executed by a Central agency, i.e. the Border Road Organisation.

Secondly, merge the two states and let the new elected government of the combined state of ‘Vishal Punjab’ decide the issue in the best interest of the entire state.

Brig W.S. CHOUDHARY (retd), Panchkula


Haryana needs water, which I understand, for its farmers. The Sutlej water, if allowed to pass through the SYL after its completion, will enter Haryana through the most fertile land of Punjab. It is clear that an area of about 3,500 acres (which is more than half the area of Chandigarh) of Punjab will be sacrificed under this venture, apart from the soil erosion from the banks of the SYL canal. This will be a direct revenue loss of Punjab every year.

The eroded soil, already most fertile and vulnerable, will reach Haryana in the years to come. Earlier, the Rajasthan canal was also designed and developed on the same lines for which Punjab has sacrificed its land. If water has to given to Haryana, it cannot be at the cost of Punjab.

MANMOHAN SINGH VIRDI, Architect, Chandigarh

Sonia’s tantrums in UP

Congress President and United Progressive Alliance Chairperson Sonia Gandhi has of late been aggressively criticising the Uttar Pradesh government for the rising crime graph and lack of civic amenities in the state. But it is really shocking that she has never uttered a word about the constantly deteriorating law and order situation in Bihar. Even the Patna High Court once commented that there was Jungle Raj in the state.

Is Mrs Gandhi wallowing in ignorance or lacking in courage, lest she should annoy the redoubtable Laloo Prasad Yadav? Some Congress MP from the region should enlighten us.

R.L. SINGAL, Chandigarh


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