SYL canal issue: Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann, Haryana CM Manohar Lal fail to reach agreement : The Tribune India

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SYL canal issue: Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann, Haryana CM Manohar Lal fail to reach agreement

They will now meet Union Water Resources Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat



Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 14 

A meeting to discuss the contentious Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) canal issue was held here today between Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann and his Haryana counterpart Manohar Lal Khattar. Reportedly, the two failed to arrive at a consensus on the construction of SYL canal. They will now meet Union Water Resources Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and brief him about the meeting.

Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann and Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar during a meeting on SYL issue at Haryana Bhawan in Chandigarh on Friday. Tribune Photo: Ravi Kumar

The meeting was held after the Supreme Court recently nudged them to meet and find an amicable solution.

Addressing mediapersons after the meeting, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann said he had a long discussion with Haryana CM and his team. “I put across Punjab’s side very strongly,” he claimed.

Mann said Parkash Singh Badal during his tenure as chief minister had allowed Chaudhary Devi Lal to do a survey for the construction of canal. “All such agreements have to be revised after 25 years. But this agreement on sharing of river waters was done 41 years ago, and should be reviewed,” he added.

Mann said Haryana wants to construct canal, but there is no need for it as Punjab has no water to give to them. “We will not construct the canal, land is already restored to the owners and we have no water to spare,” he claimed.

Mann said he suggested to Khattar to meet the Prime Minister and apprise him of the issue. “I can accompany him to request the PM to allow for water from other rivers to be allocated to Haryana, but there is no surplus water in Ravi and Beas to be shared with Haryana,” said the Punjab CM.

Mann said he chose not to keep an all-party meeting, before this issue was to be discussed as the two opposition parties- Congress and SAD- have always milked the issue for political gains.

On the other hand, Khattar said Punjab did not agree on the construction of the canal in its territory.

"No consensus was arrived at in the meeting," he said.

The SYL canal has been a bone of contention between Punjab and Haryana for several decades.

Punjab has been maintaining that the quantum of water flowing through Ravi and Beas rivers had come down considerably and therefore, it is seeking reassessment of the water volume.

Haryana has been seeking completion of the SYL canal to get its share of 3.5 million acre feet of the river waters and also that Punjab should comply with the 2002 and 2004 Supreme Court orders for the completion of the SYL canal for bringing its share of Ravi-Beas waters. Presently, it is getting 1.62 million acre feet (MAF) of Ravi-Beas waters.

The Punjab Assembly in July 2004 had enacted the Punjab Termination of Agreement Act, annulling all inter-state agreements signed by Punjab relating to sharing of Ravi and Beas waters.

However, a constitutional bench of the Supreme Court, while answering the Presidential Reference on November 11, 2016, had held that the Punjab Termination of Agreement Act, 2004 was unconstitutional.

(With Agency Inputs)

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#bhagwant mann #manohar lal khattar #supreme court #Sutlej Yamuna Link canal SYL


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