July 15, 2014 | By Parmjeet Singh
Chandigarh/ Punjab (July 15, 2014): Haryana has once again raised the demand of completion of controversial canal project called “Satluj Yamuna Link” (SYL). While describing the SYL Canal as the “lifeline” for the state, the Haryana Assembly yesterday (on July 14) decided to send an all-party delegation, led by chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, to meet Indian Prime Minister. The delegation would seek direction of Indian Prime Minister to take up construction of the SYL canal at the earliest.
It is notable that the state of Haryana was craved out of Punjab by Punjab Reorganization Act 1966. Haryana insists that it should be given “share” out of Punjab’s river waters. However, Haryana is a non-riparian state and even before the formation of Haryana state this area was not getting river water from Punjab’s rivers as the area falls in different basin than that of the rivers of Punjab.
But, successive central governments in India made extra-legal and extra-constitutional arrangements to allocate Punjab’s river waters to non-riparian states of Rajasthan, Haryana and Delhi.
Haryana is already getting major share of Punjab’s river waters. The SYL canal is to give 34 LAF river water to Haryana.
It is notable that Punjab is already a water deficit state that is largely dependent on ground water to satisfy it’s needs. According to certain studies Punjab falls in the list of top few areas of the world where ground water level is declining at an alarming rate.
It may be recalled that in 2004 the Punjab assembly in it’s attempt to stop construction of SYL canal put legal stamp (through section 5 of Punjab Termination of Agreements Act, 2004) on all extra-legal and extra-constitutional arrangements made by the central governments of India to loot Punjab’s river waters.
On July 14, 2014 the Haryana state assembly held a two-hour debate on the resolution on the SYL Canal issue which was moved by parliamentary affairs minister Randeep Singh Surjewala. At the end of the debate the House left it to Speaker Kuldeep Sharma to select members of the all-party delegation which would meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The resolution was passed unanimously by the Assembly with support from opposition INLD and BJP MLAs. Surjewala requested the Speaker to be a part of the delegation in his capacity of being “custodian of the House”.
Earlier, the House witnessed blame game between ruling Congress and opposition MLAs over the non-completion of SYL Canal despite Surjewala telling the members “perhaps, it is time to rise above political blame game (on SYL issue)”.
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