M A I N   N E W S

It will lead to constitutional crisis, warns Chautala
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 12
Haryana leaders have reacted sharply to the Punjab Termination of Agreements Bill, 2004, passed by the Punjab Vidhan Sabha at its special session here today.

The Bill proposes to annul the 1981 Indira Gandhi Award as well as all other agreements on the sharing of river waters among Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan, ostensibly as a measure to circumvent the Supreme Court orders on the construction of the SYL canal.

The Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, today warned that a constitutional crisis would be created if the Supreme Court decision was not respected. "We are confident that the canal inside Punjab would be completed as per the apex court's verdict. If Punjab or the Union Government delays it, we will again knocks the doors of the Supreme Court," he added.

Referring to the Bill passed by the Punjab Vidhan Sabha he said: "What the Punjab Vidhan Sabha does is not Haryana's concern. If the highest court's verdict is not implemented, then there may be a constitutional crisis."

The Haryana Congress president, Mr Bhajan Lal, said the Punjab Vidhan Sabha could not unilaterally nullify the inter-state agreements. He said the step taken by Punjab "is just putting the wheel of time back which is totally unjustified and improper".

Mr Bhajan Lal said these agreements were like division of property between two brothers and one party could not deny the rights of the other party on its own. Haryana was demanding what was due to it legally and according to the constitutional provisions. He said the assets were divided between Punjab and Haryana under the supervision of the Union Government and the backing out of the agreements by Punjab after a quarter century was totally illogical.

Criticising "legal gimmicks" being resorted to by Punjab to circumvent the apex court's decision, senior Haryana Congress leader and MP from Rohtak ,Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, said the Punjab Bill could not deny Haryana its rightful share in the river waters.

He said the attitude of Punjab was not in consonance of democratic traditions. The Punjab step was aimed at harming Haryana farmers, which would not be tolerated by the people of the state.

He said Haryana was facing a serious water shortage. The apex court's decision on the canal had come like a relief to the people of the state. However, for its petty political interests, Punjab was conspiring to keep Haryanvis thirsty.

Mr Hooda did not spare the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, who, he alleged, was not concerned with the interests of the farming community but considered the SYL canal only a political tool.

He appealed to all political parties to rise above political considerations and fight for Haryana's interests unitedly. He also appealed to the Prime Minister to help Haryana in getting its due share in the river waters expeditiously because otherwise the people of the state would be compelled to launch an agitation.

The Congress MP from Bhiwani, Mr Kuldeep Bishnoi, also criticised the Punjab Bill.

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