——————————DAILYPOST interview with Prof Sucha Singh Gill——————–
Renowned economist Prof Sucha Singh Gill needs no introduction. Attending to his ailing wife in Rajindra Hospital, Patiala, the economist agrees to talk about SYL imbroglio, post Supreme Court verdict against Punjab. Prof Gill feels that the SAD-BJP government could not convince the Apex Court about depleting availability of water in Beas and Sutlej rivers. “This was the reason that Haryana and Rajasthan were demanding share in the “surplus waters” of Punjab. But, Punjab has never demanded share in Yamuna waters in Haryana,” adds Prof Gill. In a candid interview, Prof Gill talked to Rajinder S Taggar, Deputy Editor, DAILYPOST, on Saturday. Excerpts:
What type of scenario is developing after Supreme Court verdict against Punjab on SYL?
The verdict is all clear to Punjab government. Either it implements the order of the Supreme Court or else get ready to be dismissed. The Central government has the powers under Constitution of India to summarily dismiss any government which refuses to obey the orders of Apex Court.
SAD-BJP government is saying it respects the Constitution but is not convinced by Apex Court’s order.
Ans: It is a kid-dish argument. The Supreme Court is there to uphold the Constitution. If you don’t obey orders of Apex Court, then how are you respecting the Constitution? These are double standards of SAD-BJP government.
If Haryana claims share in Punjab waters then why should it not give share to Punjab in Yamuna river waters?
Exactly, this point has never been stressed. Same yardstick should be applied to Haryana as was being done in the case of Punjab. It is the failure of Punjab leadership, which till date did not seek share in Yamuna waters. If the riparian laws are not applicable on Punjab, the same should not be applied to Haryana as well. In my view all the river waters including that of Yamuna be pooled together and then divided in 60:40 ratios between Punjab and Haryana respectively.
Will there be a need to dig up another canal to bring Yamuna waters to Punjab?
Let first Haryana agree to the demand of sharing Yamuna waters, after which the canal question will follow.
The ground water in Punjab is depleting and deep bore tube-wells are required for irrigation. What is your take?
Yes, the problem is there. The Punjab farmers need to be educated that paddy crop requires 20 irrigations and not 36. The excessive watering of the crop is not only proving costly but was also adversely affecting the level of under-ground water. The state is moving towards desertification.
I was informed by a senior officer of Irrigation Department that Sutlej and Beas waters are still flowing to Pakistan without mandate.
This is the inefficiency of the government. Let each drop of water be stopped from going to Pakistan. This saved water can be put to better use.
What should SAD-BJP government do now?
It is easy for the government to find out a negotiated solution to the problem as Punjab, Haryana and the Union governments belong to the NDA. Prime Minister Narendra Modi can be roped in and a negotiated settlement can be reached.
Who has gained politically after the Supreme Court order?
Obviously, Haryana will be the major beneficiary. In Punjab the opposition is supposed to have gained politically.
Whom do you hold responsible for the water mess?
It is 50 years since Punjab was carved out. During these years, both Akalis and Congressmen ruled the state. I will say that these two parties created mess. No single party can be blamed.
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