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Posted at: Sep 20, 2019, 2:11 PM; last updated: Sep 21, 2019, 7:04 AM (IST)

States’ water woes echo in NZC meet chaired by Amit Shah

Chandigarh, September 20

Haryana on Friday told a Northern Zonal Council meet, chaired by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, that it was being denied its full share of Ravi-Beas waters by Punjab which, in turn, asserted that it has no surplus water to share.

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar lodged the compliant in the NZC meeting convened to deliberate upon and resolve various inter-state disputes of northern region, including Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal, Rajasthan and Delhi.

Describing Sutlej Yamuna Link Canal as the lifeline of Haryana, Khattar said his state was facing acute water stress as against the demand of 36 million acre feet, it has only 14.7 MAF of water available with it.

NZC vice chairman and the meet host, Khattar said Haryana is giving extra water to Delhi in compliance of the Supreme Court’s orders from its own share of Yamuna waters, but Punjab is not delivering his state its full share of the Ravi-Beas waters.

“The water supply from Yamuna has been dwindling over recent years and it is most unfortunate that more than one thousand villages in Haryana and millions of hectares of the state land are bereft of water,” Khattar told reporter as having asserted in the NZC meet.

The proceeding of the meet was not opened to media.

Denying that his state has any surplus water, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh expressed concern over the water crisis faced by states amid their depleting ground water and sought cooperation among them for conserving water.

“Shared my deep concern with the NZC about the growing water crisis in all states, especially regarding the depletion of ground water. While Punjab has no surplus river water to share, we must cooperate to improve water-use efficiency to conserve our most precious resource,” the Punjab Chief Minister said in a tweet after the meeting.

He also raised the issue of drug malady afflicting Punjab and other northern states and sought formulation of a comprehensive national drug policy to tackle this menace.

“Raised my concern in the NZC meeting regarding the drug abuse in the Northern States of India, which has become a significant problem. Requested Union Home Minister @AmitShah ji to urgently formulate a comprehensive National Drug Policy for coherent response to this problem,” Amarinder said in his another tweet.

Singh also demanded rationalisation of tax rates for fuel in the northern region.

“In NZC meeting, called for greater regional cooperation between northern states by evolving a common ecosystem. With GST, there is need for greater rationalization of tax rates in the region, especially on excise, petrol & diesel. Hope we can find common ground soon,” Amarinder Singh tweeted.

Talking to reporters after the meeting, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said the participating states voiced their concern and sought solutions related to inter-state disputes and matters involving the Centre and states.

He said the next meeting of NZC will be held in Jaipur where these discussion will be taken forward.

The meeting was also attended by, amongst others, Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik, Punjab Governor and Chandigarh UT Administrator V P Singh Badnore, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur and Delhi Lt Governor Anil Baijal. PTI

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