Haryana, Punjab set for face-off on SYL canal

Punjab should protect the interests of the younger brother, says Khattar

Updated - November 17, 2021 02:00 am IST

Published - March 12, 2016 12:00 am IST - NEW DELHI:

A view of the Sutlej-Yamuna Link canal in Punjab.

A view of the Sutlej-Yamuna Link canal in Punjab.

Punjab and Haryana are pitched for a bitter face-off as both States have hardened their stance on the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal, the focal point of a water-sharing dispute.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal announced in the Assembly on Thursday that the State government would de-notify the land acquired for the construction of the controversial canal in Punjab and the land would be returned to its original owners. Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar took exception to the statement and termed it “unfortunate.”

Mr. Khattar said that Mr. Badal’s statement on the SYL after the Supreme Court had begun hearing on the Presidential reference on the Punjab Termination of Agreement Act, 2004, was disappointing and driven purely by political considerations. “One should refrain from commenting on anything which is sub judice,” he said.

Stating that SYL was the lifeline of Haryana farmers, Mr. Khattar said he was confident that the State would get every drop of its legitimate share of river waters.

“I have great respect for Mr. Badal who is an experienced leader. Being the elder brother of Haryana, Punjab should protect the interests of the younger brother,” Mr. Khattar said.

He said the SYL is the lifeline of Haryana farmers and the State government is committed to doing everything possible to make it carry Haryana's share of water at the earliest.

Crisis in Punjab: Badal

Mr. Badal said in the Assembly that not a single drop of water would be allowed to flow out of Punjab. “In fact, an extremely critical and dangerous water crisis stares its population in the face. I would rather shed every drop of my blood than allow any drop of Punjab’s river waters to flow out,” said Mr. Badal.

The Haryana government had recently filed a petition in the Supreme Court for an early hearing on the presidential reference in the SYL case which had been pending for the last 12 years.

The Punjab Assembly in 2004 had passed the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act 2004, terminating the water sharing agreements of Punjab with the neighbouring States, following which a presidential reference was sought on the issue.

The SYL canal, the foundation for which was laid way back in 1982, was to link the Sutlej and Yamuna rivers in Punjab and Haryana, but the project never saw the light of the day as in the 1990s — amid the rise in terrorism — water sharing became a sensitive issue. Terrorists even gunned down officials and workers involved in the construction of the SYL canal in a bid to halt the project.

Punjab should protect the interests of the younger brother, says Khattar

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