Asking the Cabinet, government and all officials not to cooperate with any agency seeking favour on SYL canal construction, punjab assembly further directs to collect charges of river waters flowing to Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi
Chandigarh: Taking tough stand on the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal issue that too in ‘defiance’ of Supreme Court’s recent order on the subject, Punjab Vidhan Sabha on Wednesday directed the state government, council of ministers and all state government employees not to hand over any land to any agency for the construction of the SYL canal with also bounding them for neither let any agency do any work on it nor to cooperate with any agency for the construction of the SYL canal.
Going ahead, Punjab Vidhan Sabha also passed a resolution in the emergency session, directing Punjab government to demand charges for river waters flowing to Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi declaring that the non-riparian states had no right over its water. The Vidhan Sabha asked the state government to seek the help of the Centre to recover the charges for the state’s waters.
Notably, the house decided to recover amount from the neighbouring states since the grand old Punjab was split into parts in 1966. The resolution on the SYL issue was proposed by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and the proposal on river water charges was mooted by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Madan Mohan Mittal.
In his proposal, the Chief Minister cited the state’s legislative and executive right over land, water supply, irrigation and canals, drains, pathways, water reservoirs and hydro electricity, with mentioning that Punjab was already falling short of its canal water needs and farmers of Punjab are facing serious water crisis.
Meanwhile, in his proposed resolution, which was later amended to substitute the word “recommendation” with “direction” and incorporate “cost” besides “royalty” as the bill initially provided for, Madan Mohan Mittal said there had been instances in the past where the state had demanded royalty and received it. Speaking on issue, SAD MLA Nirmal Singh claimed that Rajasthan owed the state Rs 80,000 crore as royalty for using state waters. Independent MLA Simarjit Singh Bains quoted the figure as of Rs 15.34 lakh crore.
Clarifying the directions later, Deputy Chief Minister told media that Punjab Cabinet, Punjab Government and all of its officials were bound to obey the directions of Punjab Assembly. He said that a committee under the Chief Secretary Punjab would be formed to access the cost and royalty of river waters provided to other states. Sukhbir also mentioned that Punjab government after the state cabinet passed a resolution on Tuesday not only denotified the land acquired for SYL but also transferred the properties in the names of real owners.
Asked whether the neighbouring states will pay cost and royalty, Sukhbir said, “May be they pay the amount.”
About the legality of the directions as the SC had also come up with its judgement against Punjab on the SYL canal controversy, Sukhbir clarified that there was no pendency of case or stay imposed by the court which could check the Vidhan Sabha from passing the resolutions. About the possible petitions, he said: “Let the Court issue fresh orders, we will see to it.”
The house held the emergency session in the absence of Congress MLAs as after submitting their resignations en masse none of them turned up on
During the proceedings, two independent MLAs from Ludhiana Simarjit Singh Bains and Balwinder Singh Bains threw their resignations towards the Speaker’s chair and left the house in protest as the Speaker denied accepting it during proceedings. Their ‘Awaz-E-Punjab’ front colleague, former SAD MLA Pargat Singh also resigned from Assembly but he handed over the document to the speaker in his office.
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