IEP Chandigarh, January 4
The Union Water Resources Minister, Sh. Gajendra Singh Shekhawat today held an important meeting on the issue of the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal with the Chief Ministers of Haryana and Punjab in New Delhi.
Divulging the details about the meeting, Sh. Manohar Lal said that no consensus has been reached in this meeting as well. He said that the Supreme Court in its decision had announced that SYL should be constructed but the Punjab Chief Minister, Sh. Bhagwant Maan and his administrative wing are not ready to find any solution to this issue.
“Instead of discussing this pivotal issue, the Punjab Chief Minister and his administrative wing are repeatedly saying that there is no water in the state. Rather they are asking to discuss sharing of water whereas a separate tribunal has been set up for discussing issues related to water sharing. Distribution of water will be done according to the recommendation of the tribunal,” said Sh. Manohar Lal.
The Chief Minister said that the Punjab government is not even accepting the Supreme Court’s decision wherein the Act brought by the Punjab government in the year 2004 has been repealed. “Punjab Chief Minister says that the 2004 Act still exists which is completely unconstitutional,” added Sh. Manohar Lal.
The Chief Minister said that the SYL Canal should be built and the Haryana Government would apprise the Supreme Court about Punjab’s reluctant attitude over this issue. “We will accept the decision of the Supreme Court in this regard”, added Sh. Manohar Lal.
The Chief Minister clarified that SYL is the right of Haryana residents and he is hopeful that the state will get this right. He said that SYL water is very important for Haryana. Now it is necessary to fix a timeline in this matter so that the availability of water to the farmers of the state can be ensured, added Sh. Manohar Lal.
The Chief Minister said that it is a well-known fact that despite two Supreme Court judgments, Punjab has not completed the construction of SYL. Instead of implementing the decisions of the Supreme Court, Punjab tried to obstruct their implementation by enacting the Cancellation of Agreements Act in 2004. It is worth mentioning that under the provision of Punjab Reorganization Act, 1966, according to the order of the Government of India dated March 24, 1976, 3.5 MAF of water was allocated to Haryana out of the surplus water of Ravi-Beas. Due to non-completion of SYL canal, Haryana is using only 1.62 MAF of water. Punjab is illegally using about 1.9 MAF of water from Haryana’s share by not completing the SYL canal in its region, he added.
“Due to this attitude of Punjab, Haryana is not able to take its 1.88 MAF share of water. Punjab and Rajasthan are using about 2600 cusecs of water from Haryana every year. If this water had reached Haryana, it would have been used to irrigate 10.08 lakh acres of land, quench the state’s thirst, and help thousands of farmers”, added Sh. Manohar Lal. He said that due to non-availability of this water, the groundwater level in South-Haryana is also going down considerably. Due to non-construction of SYL, farmers of Haryana irrigate by using expensive diesel and running tubewells with electricity, which incurs an additional burden of Rs. 100 crore to Rs. 150 crore every year. Due to non-formation of SYL in Punjab region, the irrigation potential created to irrigate 10 lakh acres in Haryana is lying idle, he added.
“Additionally, the state also bears the loss of 42 lakh tonnes of food grains every year. Haryana would have generated an additional 130 lakh tonnes of food grains and other crops had SYL been established in 1983 in accordance with the 1981 agreement. The total value of this agricultural produce at the rate of 15,000 per tonne is Rs. 19,500 crore”, asserted the Chief Minister.