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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
M A I L B A G

Why did the Governor act in haste?

Under Article 200 of the Constitution, after a state legislature passes a Bill, it is sent to the Governor for his assent. He may give it or even refuse to give his assent. He can even reserve the Bill for the President’s consideration. He is not prohibited from doing so, even if the issue is in the State List. If he feels that the Bill is prejudicial to national interest, he can reserve it for the President's consideration.

The Sarkaria Commission had examined this issue and recommended that the Governor may exercise his discretion in the discharge of the functions under Article 200 in rare and exceptional cases. The Governor acts on the advice of his Council of Ministers, but it does not mean that he has no discretion even on sensitive issues like the Sutlej-Yamuna Link Canal.

The sharing of the river waters is not confined to Punjab and Haryana alone. Other states also have the same problem. But Punjab has set a bad precedent.

 

 

Had Haryana been still a part of Punjab as it was before 1966, the people of the areas now falling in Haryana might have received a bigger share of the river water than what they are demanding today. The hasty action of the Punjab Governor, who himself is a legal luminary, has created problems for both the Prime Minister and the UPA government.

A.N. BAROWALIA, OSD to the Governor of HP (retd), Shimla

II

Apropos of your editorial “Captain in a hurry” (July 15), I fully endorse The Tribune’s view that the Bill meant for annulling all the earlier agreements was drafted in “indecent haste” by Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh and his colleagues. But the Punjab Governor could have returned it to the State Assembly for reconsideration. He gave his questionable assent to this most controversial Bill.

The SYL issue has now snowballed into a major controversy between Punjab and Haryana. Capt Amarinder Singh has undermined the apex court’s authority. In fact, Haryana is being callously treated by the Punjab government. Punjab can’t claim to be the owner of the river waters as most perennial rivers originate from Himachal Pradesh.

The Centre must have an upper hand on this issue and the Supreme Court’s directive must be implemented.

The bellicose leaders in both Punjab and Haryana should exercise restraint. The Centre cannot remain a helpless spectator to the type of “unconstitutional federalism” being practiced by the Punjab legislature. The river waters are national assets and no single state can be allowed to monopolise them. We have to maintain peace and social harmony in this region at any cost for keeping our national unity intact.

Dr R.B. YADAV DEHATI, Fatehabad

III

The SYL canal problem is getting complicated day by day. Even experts of respective states are justifying their stand on certain facts, conveniently forgetting the other relevant facts which do not go in their favour.

There is no problem that cannot be solved if one rises above petty consideration. Water is a nature's gift just like mountains, sea, forest, gold, oil, coal mines etc. The producing states have to supply the products to other states to meet their requirements. Bihar and Assam can supply coal and oil respectively to other states. Why, then, water cannot be supplied to other states on the same basis to meet their requirements?

The Rajiv-Longowal Accord was signed in July, 1985. Why not implement all the clauses in toto instead of just implementing one clause 9.3, i.e. putting the cart before the horse since the Balakrishna Eradi Commission has not given judgement as to the quantum of the water to be supplied to Haryana?

It is practical and possible to bring prosperity to the farmers of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan through a give and take policy which will enable this part of the country to become prosperous.

AMRIK SINGH, Mohali

IV

Water is going to be scarce for both irrigation and drinking in the future. Efforts have to be made now to conserve, recycle and find new sources of water. Not only rainwater, even dew, has to be harvested. he monsoon, the rivers, the lakes are great gifts of nature to us and we have to be careful not to take these for granted forever.

While the rivers are getting polluted with reduced flows, the lakes are fast shrinking with murky waters gasping to support life. Concrete jungles, merciless denuding of trees and green patches and the Green House Effect is playing havoc with the environment.

When no water remains, how would one share? The Cauvery waters are a lifeline for both Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. The impasse on the SYL canal following the unilateral annulment of water sharing by Punjab reflects similar compulsions.

The Centre has to take a pragmatic view for equitable distribution of river waters to avoid conflicts. May be a uniform and non-partisan national policy needs to be evolved by consensus for water distribution. Interlinking of river waters and the Golden Quadrangle project must continue with the same momentum as it was during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.

Air-Cmde Raghubir Singh (retd), Pune

Is Sonia de facto PM?

Apropos of the news-item "Rs 1 crore package for fire victims' kin" (July 17), Congress President Sonia Gandhi announced a package of Rs 1 crore from the Prime Minister's Relief Fund to the kin of the students killed in the Kumbakonam school tragedy. I would like to know whether Mrs Sonia Gandhi is a super or parallel Prime Minister to announce relief on behalf of the Prime Minister?

Or is Mrs Gandhi a de facto Prime Minister? Otherwise, how can the chief of a political party work on behalf of the Prime Minister of the whole country?

S. K. MITTAL, Shahpurkandi

Leaner ministries

Apropos of the editorial “Ministers in disguise” (July 9), the Vajpayee government and the Congress deserve a pat for bringing in the law to downsize the ministries as well as curb the infamy of ‘Aya Rams Gaya Rams’ in the polity. However, the way the Punjab Chief Minister has appointed MLAs as parliamentary secretaries makes the whole exercise a sham. Similarly, in other states former ministers have been made chairmen for various corporations so that they continued to enjoy the powers and perks at the cost of the public exchequer.

It is hoped that these worthy representatives do not find new incredible ways to hoodwink even the new law on defections. MPs and MLAs must serve their constituencies by discharging their duties consciously and honestly as emphasised in the editorial.

Brig H.S. SANDHU (retd), Panchkula

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