Devinder Singh Kohli / #kaumimarg .com | November 16, 2016 04:17 PM


          Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal today reiterated that the state has not even a single drop of river water to spare and no water would be allowed to flow to Haryana.

Addressing the special session of Punjab Vidhan Sabha here today, the Chief Minister categorically said that the state government would do everything possible to stop water from flowing to Haryana. Making a frontal attack on the Congress, Mr. Badal said that the entire leadership of Congress had been accusing him and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) for changing stand on Satluj Yamuna Link (SYL) canal issue. However, he said that it was the SAD which opposed this anti-Punjab decision tooth and nail whereas the Congressmen accepted the verdict of their high command and the then Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi thereby marginalizing the very interests of the state and its people. Quoting from the prominent English daily, the Chief Minister said, ...."I would rather shed every drop of my blood than allow even a single drop of water to flow out of my state in defiance of Riparian Principle", “We will not implement the court order at any cost not a drop of water from Punjab will be given to anyone even if we have to go to jail," and "...even if the judicial process does not bear fruit, the SAD would not complete the Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL)." Mr. Badal further stated that he, his party and his government firmly stood on its stand and the same was reiterated in the last assembly session, “Any decision to rob the state of its legitimate rights on river waters was, is and would neither be acceptable to me nor to SAD-BJP alliance government. Likewise, there is and was any need to construct SYL canal and neither there is any possibility for its construction and nor it will be allowed in any circumstance”.

Taking strong exception to the absence of Congress MLAs at this crucial juncture, the Chief Minister blamed them for their doubles speak because on one hand they were shedding crocodile tears over the recent verdict of Supreme Court and on the other they ran away adding he said they did it deliberately because they were guilty conscious for betraying the Punjab and its people on territorial issues including river waters, several times.

The Chief Minister said that Punjab had been frequently meted out discrimination, excesses and injustice adding that we have to struggle for securing our rights since inception and even supreme sacrifices were made. Mr. Badal pointed out that grave injustice being meted out in terms of river waters was absolutely intolerable. Mr. Badal said that water issue was not merely restricted to peasantry but every section of the society was adversely affected by it. He said that there would be no agriculture without water and without agriculture there would be no trade and industry. Mr. Badal said that the future of everyone including trader, shopkeeper, aartiyas, industrialist, labour and employee has been linked with waters.

Dwelling on the injustice done by Congress led Centre and State governments to Punjab, the Chief Minister gave a brief account of first betrayal in terms of interstate Ministerial meeting in 1955 which was presided by the then Union Water Resources Minister Mr. Gulzari Lal Nanda and was attended by the Irrigation Ministers of Rajasthan, PEPSU and J&K. The allocation of 15.85 MAF of Ravi, Beas surplus water was distributed amongst Punjab (5.9 MAF), PEPSU (1.3 MAF), J & K (0.65 MAF) and Rajasthan (8 MAF). Internationally accepted Riparian Principle was blatantly violated as Rajasthan neither was nor is a Riparian State. Rajasthan was given 8 MAF, which was more than the combined allocation of 3 Riparian States.

Punjab was meted out discrimination for second time in terms of Indus Water Treaty of 1960, under which distribution of six rivers between India and Pakistan was done. Jhelum, Chenab and Indus went to Pakistan while Sutlej, Ravi and Beas to India. Distribution was allotted to Pakistan with 136 MAF (80%) and Punjab (India) with 34 MAF (20%) under this treaty.

In the Reorganization Act of 1966, Mr. Badal lamented that the discrimination continued against Punjab unabatedly. After creation of Haryana, Government of India using Section 78 of the Reorganization Act, 1966 allocated 50% (3.5 MAF) water to Haryana from the share that Punjab (including PEPSU) was given in 1955. He said the use of Section 78 of the Reorganization Act by Government of India was unconstitutional as the only legal remedy for sharing of river waters lies in the Inter State River Water Dispute Act 1956. The Government of India blatantly bypassed the Act of 1956 which provides for the constitution of a Tribunal to adjudicate between two states in case of dispute on water issues. The decision on sharing of river waters was to be taken by Tribunal and not by Government of India.

Referring to the issue of SYL, Mr. Badal said that it was started in 1976 and first mention about its construction was made in 1981 agreement. But surprisingly much before that the Congress Chief Ministers of Haryana and Punjab had already decided on it. Mr. Badal mentioned that Rs. 1 crore was received by Punjab from Haryana on November 18, 1976. The then Chief Minister of Punjab Giani Zail Singh wrote a D.O. letter on November 26, 1976 to his Haryana counterpart Mr. Banarsi Dass Gupta seeking consent to carry out the works for construction of SYL Punjab Portion out of the Rs. 1 crore which was so kindly offered by Haryana. Subsequently, in January 1, 1977 the Punjab government under Giani Zail Singh Singh accorded the most important Administrative approval to construct SYL Punjab portion. The conspiracy to rob Punjab of its river waters was abundantly clear in this correspondence.

Referring to the legal battle over the issue, the Chief Minister Haryana filed a suit in Supreme Court on April 30, 1979 for seeking a direction to construct SYL. Mr. Badal said his government filed a suit in Supreme Court challenging Section 78 of Reorganization Act in July 11, 1979. Constitutional experts were of the view that Punjab had a very strong case. Mr. Badal pointed out that only option for Haryana was that Punjab should withdraw this suit and the then Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi dismissed his government in Punjab during 1980. This was one of the reasons a suit was filed by Punjab.

With regard to agreement of 1981, Mr. Badal mentioned that this agreement was signed by Chief Minister of Punjab Mr. Darbara Singh, Haryana CM Ch. Bhajan Lal and Rajasthan CM Mr. Shiv Charan Mathur in presence of Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi on December 31, 1981 for the construction of SYL and withdrawal of suits by Punjab and Haryana. Subsequently, the suit was withdrawn by the then Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Darbara Singh on February 12, 1982. Digging of SYL was started by Mrs. Indira Gandhi at Kapoori on April 8, 1982. Capt. Amrinder Singh gave advertisements with his photograph welcoming Mrs. Indira Gandhi and the Shiromani Akali Dal launched a Morcha against digging of SYL and several Akalis were arrested, added Mr. Badal.

Referring to the Punjab Settlement Rajiv-Longowal Accord, Mr. Badal said it was signed on July 24, 1985 to decide share of river waters of Punjab and construct SYL canal. SYL construction was started without determining whether Haryana was to get any water or not. It was a situation just putting a cart before the horse. Subsequently, Eradi Tribunal was constituted on April 2, 1986.

Mr. Badal said that his SAD-BJP alliance government filed a suit in Supreme Court challenging Section 78 of Reorganization Act, which was still pending.

The Chief Minister clearly stated that Punjab didn’t have single drop of water to spare for any state rather it was passing through a severe water crisis. He said in or out of government, their stand on pro-Punjab issues including SYL was consistent and would never be compromised.



Have something to say? Post your comment