BJP MPs, MLAs call on Tomar, raise SYL

BOX--- The issue

The demand for the SYL has been reinvigorated by the legislators of the ruling party in Haryana at a time when the farmers of Punjab are in the vanguard of the agitation against the farm laws.

The SYL has traditionally hyphenated Haryana and Punjab in a dispute. The issue has been dominating political discourse and agriculture dialectics in both the states, especially during elections.

Ravi S Singh

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 14

In the midst of the farmers' agitation against the three farm laws, BJP MPs and MLAs from Haryana on Monday submitted a memorandum to Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat. They also sought the Centre's intervention for early completion of the stalled Sutlej-Yamuna-Link (SYL) canal project and urged the ministers to expedite construction work for the three dams -- Renuka, Lakhawar and Kisau -- on upper reaches of the Yamuna river, which aim to provide water to six states, including Haryana.

The demand for the SYL has been reinvigorated by the legislators of the ruling party in Haryana at a time when the farmers of Punjab are in the vanguard of the agitation against the farm laws.

The SYL has traditionally hyphenated Haryana and Punjab in a dispute. The issue has been dominating political discourse and agriculture dialectics in both the states, especially during elections.

While the delegation met Tomar and submitted the memorandum, they submitted a copy of it to Shekhawat vide Union Minister of State for Jal Shakti, Rattan Lal Kataria.

Giving details of their meeting with Tomar, MP Dharambir Singh said they told the minister that Haryana must get its share of 19 lakh acre feet from the Ravi to Beas. The state has not been getting water for the past 45 years.

"The importance of the river water meant for irrigation is no less than that of MSP," the leaders said in the memorandum.

"Hence, the share of Haryana farmers’ water from Punjab must be provided to them so that fields of the state remain verdant green," the memorandum added.

Dharambir said a delegation of the legislators would meet Shekhawat tomorrow, as he was out of town today.

BJP MPs Nayab Singh Saini, Sunita Duggal, Arvind Sharma and General (retd) DP Vats, among others, were present when Dharambir briefed reporters about their meeting with Tomar.

He said with regard to the farm laws, the delegation of BJP leaders thanked the Centre for acceding to the suggestions of "progressive" farmers.

They urged him to allocate more Central funds and assistance to Haryana to help set up cold storages and cold chains to encourage horticulture and crop diversification.

The legislators said they were in favour of continuance of the present MSP and mandi system. "We thank the Union government for giving written assurance in the matter," they told Tomar during the meeting.

Rattan Lal Kataria, who represents the Ambala Lok Sabha seat, backed the legislators’ demand on SYL. He said the Narendra Modi government was sincere in its efforts to improve the farmers’ position and double their income.

"The farm laws are with good intention, but Congress and political adversaries have ‘high-jacked’ the agitation and are ‘misleading’ the farmers. The government has tried to provide an alternative to farmers to sell their produce, while keeping the old MSP and the mandi system intact. The farmers have their concerns but issues can be resolved through dialogue," Kataria said, and expressed resentment at ‘some’ elements raising slogans of Khalistan in the name of farmers’ agitation.

"It seems some forces in the country and abroad are working to defame the Narendra Modi government, but they will not be allowed to succeed," he maintained.

Taking a jibe at the Punjab Assembly negating the farm laws, Kataria said: "It was because the MSP relates to only rice and wheat in Punjab, of which 80 per cent is provided by the Centre."

Tribune Shorts


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