A day after the >Supreme Court ordered status quo on land meant for the Sutlej-Yamuna Link Canal , the Punjab Assembly on Friday unanimously adopted a resolution, moved by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, declaring that “the canal will not be allowed to be constructed at any cost and under any circumstances.”
The Supreme Court’s Thursday order came after Haryana alleged that attempts were being made to alter the use of the land by levelling it in many parts of Punjab.
A press communication issued by the Punjab government said that while moving the resolution in the Assembly,
Mr. Badal said he “would rather make the supreme sacrifice than allow the canal to be built as it deprives the people of Punjab of their legitimate rights over their river waters…”
Committing his party and government to the strongest measures needed to protect the interests of the people, Mr. Badal appealed to Punjabis to prepare themselves for tough battles ahead.
“We would protect and safeguard with all the might at our disposal the river waters of the State. We will not accept under any circumstances any decision coming from any quarter which seeks to deprive our people of their legitimate rights over Punjab’s river waters by violating the nationally and internationally accepted riparian principle,” Mr. Badal said.
Also read Editorial:>Undermining the SYL Canal
He said the SAD-BJP government had neither accepted in the past nor would accept any decision taken at any level to take away “our vital river waters from Punjab.”
He said there was consensus that Punjab did not have even a single drop of water to spare. Hence, there had never been any need to construct the canal. “Neither is it even possible to do so. I wish to state in the most unequivocal terms that we will not allow this canal to be constructed at any cost,” Mr. Badal said.
On other hand, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar described the resolution as violation of the Supreme Court’s order and hoped that the court would take a serious note of it.
The press release issued by the Haryana government said that while replying to the discussion on the Governor’s address during the ongoing session of the Assembly, Mr. Khattar said that in light of the Supreme court’s decision to maintain the status quo, Haryana would present its case in the court along with the resolution passed by the Punjab Assembly.
Later, talking to reporters, Mr. Khattar said: “It appeared the issue now raised by Punjab was aimed at gaining mileage during the ensuing elections.” He said the issue belonged to Haryana and not to Punjab as the Presidential Reference had been pending for the last several years and the Haryana government had pleaded for its early hearing. “As the Supreme Court accepted the request of Haryana, the nervousness of Punjab was revealed. Now, it is between Supreme court and the Punjab government, and Haryana has no role in it,” Mr. Khattar said. Mr. Khattar said Haryana would do everything possible to get its share of the Ravi-Beas waters through the SYL canal.
Taking a dig at the Congress, Mr. Khattar said the Congress had never worked to protect the interest of the people of the State. “It was the pre-planned strategy of the members of the Congress so that they remain outside the House during the budget session,” he said.