Other States

Farmers start levelling SYL Canal land for cultivation

Farmers filling up the SYL Canal in Saini Majra village of Punjab on Wednesday.PHOTO: PTI  

Farmers in some villages of Patiala and Ropar districts have started taking possession of their land acquired for the construction of Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal, two days after the Punjab Assembly passed a bill providing for transfer of proprietary rights back to the land owners free of cost.

Workers of the ruling SAD and the Congress were seen exhorting farmers and providing equipment to help them to level the land lying untilled for decades.

Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh also appealed to farmers to fill up the canal and level it at the earliest, saying, “This is the only way to prevent 9 lakh acres of fertile land in Malwa region from turning dry and barren.”

On Monday, in an attempt to prevent its neighbouring States from getting a share in river waters flowing through Punjab, the State Assembly had passed a bill against the construction of the canal, a contentious issue with neighbouring Haryana. A Presidential Reference in this regard is pending in the Supreme Court.

The Bill also provides for returning free of cost 3,928 acres acquired for its construction to the original landowners.

Punjab Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki is yet to give his ascent to the Bill but farmers have already started demolishing the canal structure and filling the land.

At least 100 JCBs were on Wednesday deployed in Dhakki, Gardale, Inderpur, Saini Majra, Ladal, Ghanauli, Makauri, Kainour, Majri Jattan, Mannpur villages in Ropar and several others in Kiratpur Sahib and Morinda.

Ropar Deputy Commissioner Karnesh Sharma appealed to the farmers not to take law into their hands and said the government had not issued any notification in this regard.

Youth Akali Dal’s Malwa zone’s president Harpal Juneja, whose supporters arranged for equipment to level the land near the Rajpura-Banur road, said: “JCBs have been pressed into service to fill the SYL canal. The work will continue.”

Patiala Municipal Corporation Mayor Amrinder Singh Bajaj, who was also present there, said Punjab has no spare water to give to neighbouring States.

Led by Congress Legislature Party leader Charanjit Singh Channi, about a dozen party legislators, including former Union Minister and Patiala MLA Preneet Kaur, reached Kami Kalan village in Patiala and filled with sand the land acquired for the construction of the canal.

Mr.Channi said the Congress has extended its support to the Bill to protect the interest of the State.

Meanwhile, Capt. Amarinder Singh said the levelling and filling up of land will not only erase the remnants of the SYL canal “but will also assert our resolve to undo the injustice that Punjab has been subjected to in terms of sharing of waters.”

Capt. Singh said Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal should also join in as “it is the real chance for them to prove their loyalty and sincerity toward Punjab and Punjabis.”

Alleging that the BJP-led Central government backstabbed Punjab by supporting Haryana and Mr. Badal failed to rise to the occasion, he said filling up the canal was the only way left with farmers to prevent 9 lakh acres in Malwa region from turning into a desert. PTI

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Printable version | Oct 23, 2020 6:06:12 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/farmers-start-levelling-syl-canal-land-for-cultivation/article8362568.ece

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