Fatehgarh Sahib: Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Monday said the state wanted “justice” according to the Riparian Principle on the issue of sharing of river waters with Haryana and stressed that the spectre of Punjab turning into a desert loomed large due to falling water levels.
“The entire populace of the state, not just its farmers, are facing the ominous spectre of the state turning into a desert in less than a decade. Children would be deprived of even a drop of drinking water,” he said.
He said all the state wanted was justice and not a favour on the issue of sharing of river waters and the construction of contentious Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal. He added that there was a widely applied yardstick for deciding such cases.
“This is known as Riparian Principle which dictates that the water of a river belongs only to the state and country or states and countries through which the river in question flows,” he said.
“We have been demanding that this yardstick which has been applied while deciding all other river disputes in the country and even internationally must not be violated merely to loot Punjab and deprive its people of what the nature gave them,” the Chief Minister said.
“Nothing beyond the Riparian Principle can ever become the basis of settlement of river water distribution. Punjab has always been seeking justice based on this principle. We are hopeful that courts will go by this principle alone while deciding on the case,” he said.
He claimed that the “reckless looting” of Punjab’s river waters had already created a scary situation with underground water levels falling at a shocking rate.
“It will require a superhuman effort now even to simply retrieve the situation and arrest this dangerous slide,” Badal said.
With the SYL issue in the apex court, he said his government would not be able to honour any decision that has the potential of harming Punjab.
“At stake is the future of our children and the food security of the entire nation,” he said.
He appealed to policy makers at the Centre to ensure that the country came to rescue of Punjab farmers.
“Punjab’s farmers came to the rescue of the nation when the nation desperately needed them. Now, when the bread winner himself faces starvation, it is the country’s turn today to come to the aid of the farmers,” he said.
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