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M A I L B A G

Haryana should help Punjab
solve SYL row

Though unilateral withdrawal of agreements by states would lead to chaos and affect the federal structure, in the SYL case, it is necessary to examine the case historically, legally and also the nature of the agreement.

Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, ignoring that the total availability of water was not 17.1 MAF on an average of 20 years, forced former Punjab Chief Minister Darbara Singh to sign the agreement. He obeyed the orders as also withdrew the case from the Supreme Court. Had we waited for the verdict of the apex court, there would have been no hostility amongst the states. Shortage of water, if any, would have been met by the states by alternative methods.

A solution has to be found in true federal spirit. The states involved should examine the dynamics of the problem. What is the actual quantum of water available? Is this 17.1 MAF or 13.4 MAF as claimed by Punjab? Is there any surplus water with Punjab? If so, other states should not be deprived of the benefit. If there is no surplus water, alternative solutions will have to be found.

It is possible to arrive at a rational solution. But it would be dangerous if states deny the supply of their natural assets like coal, mineral, agriculture products etc., to Punjab. Buying and selling of commodities are of mutual interest to the states. Punjab generously allowed the use of water by Haryana and Rajasthan. This does not confer ownership rights to them. They should thank Punjab and resolve the problem amicably.

GURCHARAN SINGH, (Ex-Registrar, Punjabi University, Patiala), Chandigarh

 

 

II

S.S. Johlís article ďLogic and law of water sharingĒ (July 23) is balanced and timely. Clearly, Punjab and Haryana should have a share of 60:40 from all water resources of erstwhile Punjab logically, including the Ganga-Yamuna Link, both being riparian states. Also, Himachal has every right to exploit water for electricity before allowing the rivers flowing downstream.

Viewed from this angle, Haryana and Punjab should unite and fight with the Centre against the injustice meted out to them vis-a-vis the farmers, as the construction of the Indira Gandhi Canal was the result of a political decision.

A new legally sustainable agreement should be reached with the non-riparian states with a nationalistic and humanistic approach. For this, experts should advise their political bosses to rise above petty considerations. Let us stop fanning passions and pitting India against Punjab.

GURSHARAN SINGH NARULA, Ludhiana

III

S.S. Johlís article is an eye-opener to those who have projected Punjab as a villain in the SYL case. Rivers are lifeline of people. The very nomenclature of the state is based upon the rivers in it. A river is not merely the channel containing flow of water but an embodiment of peopleís love, faith, emotions, prosperity and growth. Punjab has been munificent enough by supplying water to the neighbouring states on humanitarian grounds. This long-time courtesy has been misinterpreted as their birth right by the neighbouring states.

Any state, however prosperous, canít become so obsessive to serve the interests of other states at the cost of its own. It is just like to feed others oneís eatables by remaining hungry oneís own self. Water crisis in Punjab is becoming serious day by day.

When Punjab has not curtailed the already sanctioned allotted quota of water to the neighbouring states, it would not be judicious to twist any constitutional provisions and playing havoc with the sentiments of the people of Punjab.

Dr ANUP K. GAKKHAR, Jalandhar

IV

This has reference to Harcharan Bainsí article on the SYL crisis "Settle the riparian rights first "(Oped Page, July 21). If we draw leaves from history, even after Independence, Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh and even the Union Territory of Chandigarh were within Punjab and all were entitled to have the benefit of mountains, jungles, minerals, hill stations, rivers and so on. Some alterations have been made for administrative purposes. In the process, the people of united Punjab have been deprived of natural resources due to the lopsided policies of the Centre.

DALIP SINGH WASAN, Patiala

V

We have incurred a huge amount on the construction of the SYL. Large tracts of cultivated land had been taken over. Nothing has been recovered from this investment. My suggestion is for the division of the entire length into 2-km-long segments with kacha bandhs. These segments could be auctioned to unemployed youth for carrying out pisiculture for a period of five years. The banks can be auctioned for 20-25 years for carrying plantation of Shah toot (morus alba) to be utilised for sericulture. This will be the best option of the existing canal structure.

K.K. SHARMA, Ludhiana

Commuted pension

The Fifth Central Pay Commission recommended restoration of commuted pension after 12 years. However, the erstwhile NDA government rejected it. Sadly, most Central Government employees going to retire at 60 would have already left the world before their commuted pension is restored at 75. In all fairness, Dr Manmohan Singhís government must restore the commuted pension after 12 years.

YASH PAUL GHAI, Ludhiana

Of unclaimed bodies

The Tribune (July 19) carried an advertisement by the National Human Rights Commission giving a long list of 2097 individuals whose unclaimed bodies were cremated by the police of Amritsar, Majitha and Taran Tarn police districts. There must be similar cases in the other districts in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal and Chandigarh UT.

Medical students learning or undergoing training in western system of medicine, are required to make a complete dissection of the body while learning human anatomy. Even dental students have to dissect at least head and neck. With the opening of a large number of medical and dental colleges in this region, there has been an acute shortage of dead bodies. Many colleges have to teach anatomy without the medical students undertaking dissection which is compulsory.

The Punjab Anatomy (Act 14) of 1964 provides that unclaimed bodies must be handed over to the nearest teaching hospital or medical college. The police perhaps is not aware of the Act which is applicable to Punjab, Haryana, Himachal and Chandigarh Administration. Even the decomposed bodies can be utilised by medical colleges by preparing skeletons. I hope the Health Ministers of these states will take up the issue with their respective governments.

Dr INDAR JIT DEWAN, Emeritus Professor, Dept. of Anatomy, PGI, Chandigarh

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