Chandigarh: The Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) canal issue dominated the Haryana Assembly proceedings today with main opposition party INLD accusing the Congress and BJP of failing to bring the state’s share of river waters.
After the discussion on the Governor’s address resumed today, Leader of Opposition Abhay Chautala took potshots at Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar for “soft-pedalling” on the SYL canal issue.
He accused the BJP government in Haryana of “creating stumbling blocks” by deploying forces on February 23, when INLD workers were on their way to Punjab from Ambala to dig the canal as part of their ‘Jal Yudh Sammelan’.
However, the Congress and the BJP, while countering Chautala’s claims, asserted that their governments had played an active role on the SYL issue in order to secure Haryana’s share of river waters.
Chautala listed the works done by the Devi Lal government in Haryana towards constructing the canal and accused Punjab of not sharing the waters of Ravi and Beas rivers with the state.
The INLD leader was unsparing in his criticism of the Congress for its “failure to safeguard Haryana’s interest”, while praising the role of his late grandfather Devi Lal.
Congress Legislature Party leader Kiran Chaudhary refuted Chautala’s claims and said it was during the days of the Bansi Lal government in Haryana when “95 per cent of the canal’s construction work was done”.
“But, the truth is that even Bansi Lal had acknowledged that the work was carried out during Devi Lal’s time. You can even check the facts from the records of the House,” Chautala told Chaudhary as both the sides claimed credit on the issue.
Chautala also said the farmers were facing an acute water shortage, adding that water had not reached the tail-ends of the 225 canals in the state.
Describing the SYL canal as the “lifeline of Haryana”, he alleged that the BJP government and the Congress had made fun of their ‘Jal Yudh Sammelan’.
Chautala also took a swipe at Khattar for not issuing any statement against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal when the latter had announced that Punjab was not in a position to share water with Haryana.
He criticised the Khattar government for deploying police personnel near the Shambhu barrier on February 23 to stop the INLD workers from marching towards Punjab.
“We were fighting for the state,” Chautala said and urged the opposition members to support the INLD workers when they gherao the Parliament on March 15, to press the Centre to construct the SYL canal at the earliest. PTI
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