SYL: Punjab has riparian rights

Punjab has been enjoying sovereign rights over the river waters during the British period. This can be proved by the fact that the states of Bikaner, Patiala, Nabha and Jind used to pay seigniorage charges to the Punjab government for the supply of water for which an amount of Rs 7,220,000 was adjusted between West Punjab and East Punjab governments. These states had the following agreements with the Punjab government before 1947:

(i) The Ghaggar Agreement with the Bikaner government for water supply from the Ghaggar river and the Otu reservoir.

(ii) The Sutlej Agreement with Patiala, Nabha and Jind governments for water supply from the Sirhind canal. These states contributed to the cost of head works, the main line and the Patiala feeder.

(iii) The Sutlej Valley Project Agreement of 1919 with the Bahawalpur and Bikaner governments. This Agreement allocated to the partner government the entire supplies as were surplus to the requirements of irrigation upstream of Ferozepur.



This proves that Punjab, being a riparian state, had been enjoying all rights over the waters of its rivers. This is also based on the riparian principle accepted throughout the world.

Former Professor & Head,
(Historical Studies,
Punjabi Univesity, Patiala),


The termination of water agreements by Punjab has led to a chaotic situation.†Indira Gandhi is being criticised for forcing Darbara Singh to sign the agreement without realising the fact that all leaders of yesteryear made decisions to cater to the requirements of their times.

More important, Indira Gandhi was a dominating national leader with a national vision who gave top priority to national unity.†But our present-day leaders have narrow interests for their own political survival. In this game, politicians have succeeded well as we find that battlelines are clearly drawn when Punjabís people and writers are coming out openly in support of the Punjab Chief Ministerís move. On the other hand, the people of Haryana and other affected states are giving vent to their pent-up feelings against Punjabís move.†

Let us stop politicising this issue which has already rocked the nation and our national leadership that should have come down heavily on the Punjab leadership for this act of indiscipline.†To support the Punjab government is to ignore national interest at our own peril. Provincialism and localism are polluting the socio-political environment of the country.†Canít we behave and act as a nation?

Prof K.L. BATRA,


To safeguard the interests of the people of Punjab, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has taken a decisive, resolute and meticulously planned act. He has thus upset the apple cart of those who are not friends of Punjab and Punjabis.†But by this sole action, he has won the hearts of the Punjabis which no other political leader of the state can boast of.

President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam has stressed the need to tap the ocean waters for meeting the drinking water needs. I am surprised why all those who advocate interlinking of river waters for equitable distribution to all states and have allocated funds for the intended purpose are not exploring the possibility of harnessing the Brahmaputra waters. This is better than tapping ocean†waters and can be made best use of within the same cost. For Godís sake, do not destroy Punjab.

Sun Valley (Nevada, USA)


A Central Board should be constituted to take care of all the rivers and the distribution of water to all the states. The canals/rivers should be declared national assets and no state should be allowed to meddle with the issue. By doing so, state-level political leaders arouse sentiments of innocent people by issuing uncalled for statements and vitiating the atmosphere.

In Haryana recently, buses of Punjab Roadways were burnt. This is unfair. In Punjab, people never retaliated despite great provocation from Haryana.


Time to tap wind power

In 1971 while I was completing a micro hydel power house amid gushing winds on high attitude at Ganglas, 13 km north of Leh city, I was wondering why the power brains are all on one track to the hydel way when the charming invisible sister of water, the wind, is whistling around to gain our attention. More than three decades have passed since then, but the darling winds have no serious lovers.

There are numerous areas in our country where the wind draught is perennial and can be harnessed at a viable cost. If the civil organisations are not adept at working in the inclement weather of high altitude, we have the Corps of Engineers in the Army which can develop such installations and make the country surplus in power.

It is pertinent to mention that in spite of the initial cost of transmission lines, the wind power will be cheap and neat to handle as compared to the sticky thermal and slimy hydel power. The geologists of the country should rise to the occasion and advise the Government of India about the potential areas.

We hear about small windmills here and there. The authorities concerned should transform their piecemeal approach into a whole-hearted drive in tapping the wind power. Posterity will thank us for sparing a thought for them today.

Lt-Col D.S. GURM (retd),
(Corps of Engineers),

Street lights

The street lights in Patiala are switched on daily before 6 p.m. even though they are not required before 8 p.m. or so. Why this criminal waste of power? There has been a lot of wastage of power throughout the state. The authorities should check this wastage which is mainly because of the apathy of the staff.


The missing file

Nobody asks where the file of Shibu Soren was hiding for nearly three decades. How strange!


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