Other States

SYL issue can disturb nation’s security, Amarinder tells Centre

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday asked the Central government to be cautious on the contentious Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal issue — the focal point of a water-sharing dispute between Punjab and Haryana, saying it has the potential to disturb the nation’s security.

A meeting was held on the SYL issue through video-conferencing on Tuesday in which Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal and Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat participated. It was decided that the Chief Ministers of Punjab and Haryana will meet in Chandigarh, on a date to be fixed later, for further talks on the issue, and will then go to the Union Minister again, said a Punjab government statement.

Mr. Shekhawat was of the view that carriers could be constructed and SYL could also be completed and kept ready while discussions on water sharing continue and the final formula could be decided later, the statement added.

SC direction

The meeting was convened following the Supreme Court’s direction to the Centre on July 28 to mediate between the two States to resolve the issue.

The Punjab Chief Minister during the meeting reiterated the need for a tribunal to make a fresh time-bound assessment of the water availability, even as he sought full share of water for his State.

“You have to look at the issue from the national security perspective. If you decide to go ahead with SYL, Punjab will burn and it will become a national problem, with Haryana and Rajasthan also suffering the impact,” said Captain Amarinder. He later described the meeting as “positive and cordial”.

Pointing out that Punjab remains at risk from all ends, Capt. Amarinder said Pakistan had been making continuous attempts to foment trouble and to try and revive the separatist movement through the banned Sikhs for Justice organisation. “The water issue could further destabilise the State,” he said.

‘Need for tribunal’

Capt. Amarinder said it was necessary to set up a tribunal for fair adjudication of the water availability, and pointed out that the water sharing proposed by Eradi Commission was 40 years old, while international norms require a review every 25 years to ascertain the status.

Mr. Manohar Lal, later told reporters in New Delhi that “the SYL canal should be constructed and even the Supreme Court has said the same. Discussion was held with an open heart today and soon the two Chief Ministers will meet again on the issue”.

‘Different issues’

As regards the claim of the Punjab Chief Minister that availability of water has gone down, Mr. Manohar Lal said the construction of SYL canal and availability of water were two different issues and completely unconnected and should not be confused.

“Allocation of water between States shall have to be pro rata depending on current availability of water as provided in the 1981 agreement. In fact, in its judgement of January, 15, 2002, the Supreme Court had clearly mentioned that its decision is to complete construction of the SYL canal,” he said.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2020 12:20:04 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/syl-issue-can-disturb-nations-security-amarinder-tells-centre/article32388574.ece

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