SPECIAL COVERAGE
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LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
M A I L B A G

HP should give surplus water
on its terms

The Ravi, the Beas and the Sutlej rivers originate in Himachal Pradesh. Their basins are exclusive and undisputed part of HP. By way of erosion, they are tearing off the breast of HP, but they give irrigation, drinking water and electricity to Punjab.

Dams like the Bhakra, the Pong and the Theine and the power houses mainly benefit Punjab which is India’s grain bowl, courtesy the waters and soils of HP. Has Punjab ever given any royalty to HP since 1947? HP is a poor, food deficit, and industrially backward state. What has Punjab given to HP so far?

I suggest the HP authorities to divert the Beas waters from Nadann in Hamirpur district to the Sutlej basin near Bursar through the Saryali rivulet to the Govind Sagar and, further down the Bhakra dam, divert the waters through the Changar areas of Bilaspur district and further through Nalagarh to the areas beyond. This water can provide irrigation to the dry areas of lower HP making it a grain bowl of HP.

HP is free and competent to alter the course of its waters within its own territory and for its own benefit. Yes, if there are any riparian rights, they are beyond the territorial boundary, not within. Why should HP part with its only natural resource without gaining anything? Haryana, Rajasthan and Punjab should negotiate with HP to settle a reasonable quantum of royalty. Also these states should help execute this project in their own interest. Thereafter, HP should distribute surplus water to these states on its own terms and conditions to earn its rightful revenue.

H.D.R. BHARDWAJ, Ghyana (Bilaspur, HP)

 

 

II

Several letters have appeared in these columns disapproving the Punjab government’s hasty move regarding the SYL canal. Punjab has proved its professional and ethical bankruptcy devoid of any maturity. It has also put a question mark on the inherent norms of Punjabiyat of which we are all proud of.

Punjab’s action is against the philosophy of langar, sharbat and lassi offerings. We cannot be selfish to confine ourselves to rights only and ought to be alive to our duties. That’s what the Khalsa spirit is about.

Dr P.S. NANGRA, Smethwick, Midland (UK)

III

The Supreme Court should not deviate from its earlier stand on the sharing of river waters. It would be better if a team of experts make an on-the-spot inspection and examine aspects like to what length or distance the SYL is being constructed and the passing under highway bridges in Punjab and Haryana. The team would be amazed to see the submergence of vast areas beyond Ropar’s Sutlej river bridge and at Hari ke Pattan.

Even if the Punjab government digs channels to divert the waters of the Bhakra Canal, it cannot control and stop water flowing out of Punjab. Over the decades, Punjab’s leaders have done little to reclaim the land submerged throughout the year at Ropar and Hari ke Pattan and make productive use of the water that goes waste.

Lt-Col P.S. SARANG (retd), Chandigarh

IV

On the SYL issue, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh is forgetting the fact that we are a part of the country. Please don’t give a twist to Indian politics which has led to an erosion of our moral values and reduced interest towards the nation.

The Punjab Assembly which annulled all the earlier agreements should not forget that tomorrow some other state government can behave the same way. Punjab’s political masters should spare a thought on how to promote national interest and foster oneness among every Indian.

VIKAS ARORA,Yamunanagar

V

Well done Punjab! I salute Captain Amarinder Singh for making a law to safeguard Punjab’s property and by proving that he is not a weak Chief Minister. Being a riparian state, Punjab has its right over river waters flowing through this state. This was one of the reasons behind previous revolt in the state because its residents got fed up with the Indian federal system where the ruling party at the Centre can do any injustice for its political interests in other states.

If California state is able to buy river water from Nevada state in the United States, why Rajasthan, Haryana and New Delhi cannot pay money to Punjab so that it could spend it on its own residents? There should be some justice instead of vote bank politics. Rajasthan, Haryana and New Delhi can charge more taxes from their residents to pay this money to Punjab.

Rajwinder Singh, (Via e-mail)

VI

The editorial “Troubled waters” (July 24) rightly concludes that the SYL dispute is a vexed problem. The route followed by the Punjab government does not augur well for the sanctity of inter-state agreements. Unfortunately, it has belittled the genuineness of the increasing pressures on Punjab for its diminishing water resources in the eyes of the other states and the population living outside Punjab.

The land of Punjab has been known for its fresh fragrant air, sweet reservoirs of water and its patriotic frontiers of land ever at guard for independence of the nation much ahead of others. But while its fresh air and sunlight has been directly interlinked with the rest of the nation for equitable access, the only solution for sharing the water resources linked indirectly by God will come through a human effort of interlinking of all our rivers.

The Supreme Court needs to plug the prospects of abrogation of inter-state agreements once and for all while ensuring the interests of Punjab to the extent that it may be expected to share only the surplus available resource of water with its neighbouring states on terms they bilaterally negotiate afresh.

TEJINDER SINGH BEDI, Noida

BJP restored Shimla’s glory

Apropos of the editorial “Decongest Shimla” (July 24), the P.K. Dhumal government has neither regularised encroachments nor allowed the construction of residential buildings in the banned, ecologically fragile areas as mentioned. On the other hand, it took several steps to preserve Shimla’s international glory and cultural identity.

The Dhumal government had divided Shimla into three parts. The first consisted of Outer Shimla where construction was allowed to ease population pressure. The second consisted of the banned area where permission for construction was given by the Secretary, Country and Town Planning. It covered the area down the circular road. In the third part, known as the heritage area, all kinds of construction were banned.

Even though successive Congress governments had allowed six-storey buildings, the Dhumal government had limited this to four-storey including one-storey for parking. It had formulated a plan to preserve heritage buildings. The plan included music fountain and one colour roof of all buildings in Shimla, particularly on the historic Mall Road. Similarly, though the Dhumal government developed parking lot for 2000 vehicles, the Congress government did little in this regard.

It is wrong to blame the Dhumal government for the present congestion as it had done a lot to restore Shimla’s glory.

RAJINDER RANA, Joint Media Convener, BJP (HP), Shimla

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