Chandigarh: Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal on Wednesday dubbed the unanimous resolution adopted by the state assembly to say “no” to river water-sharing with other states as “historic” and said it had given the “final burial” to the SYL canal issue.
Badal, who is also President of the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal, said the assembly’s directions on Wednesday to the state government and its officers not to allow construction of the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal and to recover money from other states for water supply were “final and binding”.
“It is a historic decision. This has given the final burial to the SYL issue,” Badal told the media here after the resolution was adopted.
The assembly directed the Cabinet, government and its officers “neither to hand over any land of the state to any agency for the construction of the Sutlej-Yamuna Link canal nor allow anyone to work on this project and give any sort of cooperation for this purpose in the larger public interest”.
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal moved the resolution.
The resolution read: “Whereas Punjab has legislative and executive right over the whole land falling under its boundaries as per the entry number 14 and 18 of the State List of the 7th Schedule of the Constitution of India. Whereas Punjab has also legislative and executive right over water supply, irrigation and canals, drains, pathways, water reservoirs and hydroelectricity… as per the entry under the State List of the 7th Schedule.”
“The house takes notice of this fact that Punjab needs 56 MAF (million acre feet) of water for agriculture, out of which river waters amount to only 27 per cent; and that the Central Ground Water Commission had already declared 105 of the 138 blocks as overexploited. Without requisite waters, Punjab — which is the grain bowl of India — is continuously becoming barren and resultantly posing a threat to national food security and state economy.
“The House takes a serious view of the fact that Punjab is already falling short of its canal water needs and farmers of Punjab are facing serious water crisis,” the resolution said.
The special one-day session of the Punjab assembly was convened on Wednesday to protest against a Supreme Court verdict on a Presidential reference that dubbed a 2004 law passed by the house to end a water-sharing agreement as “unconstitutional”.
The resolution also directed the Punjab government to demand payment from other states for the river water supplied to them over the past few decades.
It asked the government to seek the Centre’s help to recover water dues from Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi.
The Punjab government, on Tuesday, ordered de-notification of nearly 5,000 acres of land acquired for the SYL canal nearly four decades ago.
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