Chandigarh, January 4
Strongly presenting the case of Punjab before the Government of India on the Satluj-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal, Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Wednesday categorically said that the state does not even have a single drop of water to share with Haryana.
“More than 78 per cent of our 150 blocks are in extreme dark zone due to depletion of groundwater table, so Punjab can’t afford to share its water with any other state”, said the Chief Minister after a meeting with his Haryana counterpart Manohar Lal Khattar, in the presence of Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat.
The Chief Minister said that at time when this anti-Punjab agreement for the canal was inked, the state was getting 18.56 MAF of water which has now been reduced to 12.63 MAF. He said that now we don’t have any surplus water to share with any state. Mann said Haryana is currently getting 14.10 MAF of water from the Satluj, the Yamuna and other rivulets, whereas Punjab is getting only 12.63 MAF.
Batting for changing the nomenclature and proposal of the project, the Chief Minister said instead of Satluj-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal, the project should be now conceived as Yamuna-Satluj Link (YSL). He said the Satluj river has already dried up and there is no question of sharing even a single drop of water from it. Rather, Bhagwant Mann said, water from the Ganga and the Yamuna should be supplied to Punjab through the Satluj river.
The Chief Minister said that this is the only viable alternative which can be considered in wake of the alarming situation of water scarcity in the state. He said that despite being smaller in area, Haryana is getting more water than Punjab and, ironically, it is demanding more water at the cost of Punjab. “How can we give water to Haryana if our own fields are starving for it? Mann asked.
The Chief Minister said that the Union Government has not issued even a single penny for the rejuvenation of the canal system due to which farmers are suffering. Mann said that there are 14 lakh tubewells in the state which are pumping water regularly to fulfil the irrigation needs of the state and make the country self-sufficient in food production.
Mann said that it is ironic that due to availability of surplus water, the Haryana Government is now encouraging the sowing of paddy in the state. On the other hand, he said, Punjab, which is battling to save water in the state, is appealing to farmers to adopt less water-guzzling crops. Mann said that though farmers of the state have made the country self-reliant by producing record paddy, they have over-exploited the only available natural resource of the state in terms of water.
The Chief Minister bemoaned that in all the water agreements across the globe, a clause is mentioned that the agreement will be reviewed after 25 years in wake of climate changes. However, he said that the SYL Agreement is the only exception in which no such clause has been mentioned. Mann said that gross injustice has been done to Punjab. He said the then Central Government and leadership of Punjab was responsible for this sin.
Training his guns on the Congress and the Akalis, the Chief Minister alleged that both these parties have connived with each other to hatch conspiracy against Punjab and Punjabis. Bhagwant Mann said that as Chief Minister, Akali leader Parkash Singh Badal had allowed survey of the canal to appease his friend and Haryana leader Devi Lal.
Similarly, the Chief Minister said that scion of Patiala royal family and former Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, who was Member of Parliament at that time, had welcomed the then Prime Minister for ground-breaking of this sinister move. He said that since the survey till now, every step of these leaders speaks volumes of their treachery against Punjab and its people. Mann said that it is ironic that those people who had hailed this decision are now offering advice to him.
The Chief Minister said that the state government will defend the interests of the state before the Apex court, too. He said that no stone will be left unturned for safeguarding the rights of the state.
Mann said that the Haryana is the younger brother of state but Punjab has no excess water to share with it.
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